Even as public opinion against the ongoing construction of the underpass at Rabindranath Tagore Circle in Basavanagudi is mounting, traffic experts too maintain that the traffic volume at the circle did not warrant the construction of the underpass.
M.N. Sreehari, traffic expert and member of Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure Development (ABIDe), said the underpass was not required at the junction because of the low passenger car unit (PCU) per hour. “An underpass would have been necessary if the PCU was over 10,000. However, at Tagore Circle, the PCU is just 4,750.”
He said that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which has taken up the underpass construction under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme, should instead look at easing congestion at busy junctions in the city, such as Peenya Circle, Shivananda Circle, South End Circle, N.R. Circle and Ring Road junctions.
A member of the State Government’s Technical Advisory Committee claimed that the project details had not been submitted to the committee. “The committee members met on Thursday and many were not aware of the underpass construction. Top traffic officials claimed at the meeting that they were in the dark and came to know of the project only after the civic authority took up the work on Sunday,” the member said.
Residents of Basavanagudi are up in arms over the project. Krishna Murthy, proprietor of M.S.R. Service Station, said that the face of Basavanagudi had changed for the worse. “With the ongoing metro work on R.V. Road and National High School Road and the current underpass construction at Tagore Circle, the character of the historical locality is under threat. The density of traffic on this road does not warrant an underpass,” he said.
Mohan Adiga, manager of Trupti Upahaar, opposite Basavanagudi Police Station, alleged that the underpass construction was a waste of public funds. “This project is as useless as the National College flyover. It was first proposed a few years ago and was dropped soon after due to stiff public opposition. We do not know why the project has been taken up now,” he said.
A resident of Garuthman Park in Basavanagudi said that if vehicular movement was diverted onto the National College Flyover, there would be no necessity for the underpass at Tagore Circle. “The civic authorities seem to have taken up this project only to ensure that the funds sanctioned under JNNURM do not lapse. There is no signal at the circle and traffic density is a little high only during the peak hours,” he maintained.
Ravindra inspects spot
Advisor to Chief Minister A. Ravindra visited the circle for a spot inspection on Wednesday. “The project was mainly taken up to ease traffic at the busy junction. There are related issues, such as making provisions for pedestrian crossing and bus bays, which have been conveyed to the BBMP authorities. The Coordination Committee of ABIDe will meet sometime next week to discuss the project further,” he told The Hindu.
BBMP officials claimed the project was taken up as per the Indian Roads Congress guidelines. They claimed that they would complete the Rs. 19.5 crore project within 10 months. “We have fulfilled all pre-requisites and informed the departments concerned before taking up the project contrary to the allegations. We have even conducted a traffic survey as per the standard format,” they maintained.