A risky ride to Ooty as ghat road remains open to gorges

UDHAGAMANDALAM: With the famous annual flower show to be inaugurated on Friday at the Government Botanical Garden (GBG) in Ooty, the Mettupalayam – Coonoor – Ooty road (NH67) is witnessing heavy traffic. The ghat stretch of the road between Kallar and Coonoor is very risky as many of the ghat roads are open to gorges.

Traffic has been diverted from Coonoor via Kotagiri for vehicles heading towards Mettupalayam without any prior notice to the public for the past two days citing road relaying work. Relaying of the road should have been done before the summer season started but the NHAI chose to do the road work during the peak summer season causing inconvenience to the tourist vehicles. NHAI has installed metallic-barriers on the gorge side of the ghat road but many such openings have been left unattended.

“The Ooty ghat road is very bad. There was no intimation in the papers that the ghat section between Coonoor and Mettupalayam would be made one way. I am heading towards Mettupalayam. But only after coming to Coonoor I came to know that the road has been made one-way for traffic. There was no intimation in Ooty when I was heading towards Coonoor. Had I known I would have taken the Kotagiri road from Ooty itself, saving more than an hour,” said S Mohanakumar, a tourist from Salem.

Ramachandran, Coonoor DSP said, “NHAI approached the police for traffic regulation during laying of the road between Coonoor and Mettupalayam. That is the reason we diverted the traffic through Kotagiri road from Coonoor”.

However, they have been asked to stop work from Friday till the flower show is over, he added.

P Sankar, Nilgiris Collector told TOI, “NHAI had not informed the district administration regarding the laying of road in the ghat section. Anyway, they will be asked to stop work immediately till summer is over”. Officials from NHAI were not available for comment. The ghat stretch of road from Kallar to Kakkanallah, about a distance of 150 km, will be handed over to the state highways soon. Lack of mechanism and man power with the NHAI to maintain the ghat section of the road forced them to initiate a proposal in this regard. NH 67 starts from Dindigul and runs via the Nilgiris ghat section to Mysore. But a small stretch in-between Coimbatore and Narasimhan Nayakanpalayam is being maintained by the state highways.

The Nilgiris administration has declared a local holiday on Friday in view of the inaugural of the annual flower show.

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