Published: 03rd November 2017
Traffic goes out of control in Gokarna as tourists, vehicles discard rules, choke the only two main roads in town
Gokarna town is full of roads that are 5.5 metres wide, despite a decade old plan to widen the road further to 11 metres and has only two main roads, both of which are one-ways
A tourist hotspot with pristine shores and natural outlets, Gokarna in Uttara Kannada district is experiencing trouble on land after vehicles and tourists have choked the only two main roads here, both of which are one-ways. During weekends, nearly 1,000 vehicles come to the town and pose a difficult task to the police in terms of traffic management and visitors parking.
Gokarna is about 10 km from the National Highway 66 at Madanageri cross, also known as Gokarna cross. This stretch is a single road and many villages, a railway station and various roads connecting the beaches are located in between. The road from the toll gate at Gokarna to the temple, which is about 2 km, witnesses heavy traffic.
Caved in: The Mahabaleshwara Temple is one of the town's most popular spots
A number of cars, vans, government and private buses ply on this narrow road. Only 5.5 metre wide roads are seen all over Gokarna town. There are two main roads in the town - Gokarna main road and another one-way road, but despite both bein one-ways, in the absence of cautionary signboards tourists and autorickshaws enter these roads.
It has become a big challenge for the Gokarna police to handle the situation, with an absence of tow vehicles making it tougher for cops to clear traffic. Sometimes the locals park their cars in front of their houses, adding to traffic woes.
The temple town is also flocked by devotees from across the country. Sri Mahabaleshwara temple, Badrakali temple, Rathabeedi, beach road and bus stop junction are a few areas where traffic jams are common.
While some locals and tourists blame the government for not widening the roads, some people who have land on the sides of the roads are not ready to part with it. “The government should take up road widening work here. The people are finding it difficult to reach the temple and beach in the town. Without proper road, it is not possible to improve tourism,” said Ravi Naik, a businessman in Gokarna.
(This was first published in Express)