Businessmen relieved as Shiradi Ghat is reopened to traffic

The hoteliers and shopkeepers along National Highway 75 in Sakleshpur, who have not enjoyed good business in the past six months, heaved a sigh of relief as the Shiradi Ghat stretch was reopened to traffic on Sunday.

In the past three years, the business community has gone through difficult times twice as the road was closed to take up roadwork in two phases. Many hotels located on either side of the highway were closed for the past six months. They had no business between January and August in 2015 as well when the first phase of the roadwork was under way.

As the hotels pulled down the shutters, hundreds of people were out of work for several months. Some hoteliers used this period to take up renovation. Abdul Rahman, who runs an eatery near Manjarabad Fort, renovated his establishment to accommodate more customers. “A good number of travellers take a break at Manjarabad to have snacks. We have been serving traveller for the past 40 years. Yes, it was a tough time when the road was closed. Except in the weekends, there were no visitors to the fort on all these days. Now, we hope to do well,” he said.

Sanjit Shetty, hotelier and president of Shiradi Ulisi Horata Samiti, said the road connects the port city of Mangaluru to the State capital, and if the work was taken up at once in 2015, the business community would not have suffered too much. His forum had been fighting for improvement of the Shiradi Ghat stretch for the past 12 years.

Left to wait

On Sunday, hundreds of travellers had to wait until the road reopening ceremony was completed. “The officers had given a statement that the road would be open to traffic on Sunday. Instead of making the travellers wait for so long, the authorities should have fixed Monday as the day vehicles would be allowed it,” Mr. Shetty said.

He added that the roadwork was still incomplete. “Work on the shoulders has not been completed yet. The travellers have to be careful,” he said.

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