‘The work will be scientific only if taken up simultaneously’

The Bannerghatta Road-widening project should be taken up in coordination with Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL), which has proposed a line on the same road. This was the suggestion of most citizens, who attended the public hearing on the road-widening project here on Saturday.

The citizens opined that the road-widening can be scientific and comprehensive only if both projects are taken up simultaneously.

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has proposed to widen the 7.5-km stretch between Jedi Mara and Chicken Farm on NICE Road to 45 metres. The road now has a width ranging between 22 m and 28 m. As many as 405 private properties will have to be acquired for the project, including 272 buildings, 122 empty sites and 11 temples. The BBMP has proposed to acquire the properties through TDR (Transfer of Development Rights).

Even as Mayor B.S. Sathyanarayana appealed to the people to submit their consent letters for the process of road-widening soon to facilitate early start of the work, city in-charge Minister Ramalinga Reddy said the government would take a final call based on popular public opinion. He said the widening has been proposed based on a scientific survey. “The stretch should have been widened around a decade ago. There is a need to widen both Sarjapur Road and Bannerghatta Road,” he said. M. Desai from Meenakshi Layout Residents’ Welfare Association said at least the metro pillar construction should be taken up along with road-widening. Concurring, Yogesh Devaraj from Bannerghatta Neighbourhood Trust said the BBMP must co-ordinate with the BMRCL, while Praveen Patel suggested that Bannerghatta Road be widened from Hosur Road junction itself.

Mixed views

There were some mixed opinions at the public hearing. While a section favoured the widening and claimed that it would help decongest the busy road, there were some dissenting voices as well. Those opposed to the project claimed that the widening was unnecessary and junction improvements would solve traffic problems.

Rajashekhar from Save Bangalore Committee said that the association was opposed to all road-widening projects. “Road-widening will only provide temporary relief. Make junctions signal-free and provide better pedestrian facilities instead,” he said.

Ravi Kumar from Arakere Gate said the project would hit small property owners hard. He suggested the BBMP develop an alternative road network, promote car pooling and improve public transport. The BBMP should not take up the project to favour the big builders, he said.

Many residents, especially those from Bilekahalli and Deverachikkanahalli, also demanded cash compensation instead of TDR. There were a few residents who demanded the TDR rate to be increased.

Bangalore South MLA M. Krishnappa urged the BBMP to consider widening the road till the zoo. Bommanahalli MLA Satish Reddy maintained that road-widening was not to favour builders. He urged people to cooperate with the BBMP’s plans to widen the road and suggested that citizens regularising violations under Akrama Sakrama must be made to compulsorily buy TDR.