Many ongoing projects completed, few new were taken up

With its main focus being on saving the government ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power, developmental projects, particularly related to road and traffic infrastructure in Bangalore, appeared not to be on its priority list.

The political instability has paralysed administration since 2008, affecting development and infrastructure schemes, particularly in Bangalore.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), which should have had at least 8,000 buses in its fleet, has a mere 6,000, a thousand of which are high-end Volvo buses.

Namma Metro too is progressing at a snail’s pace after the launch of the 6.7-km Reach 1 between Byappanahalli and Mahatma Gandhi Road. Completion of the entire 47-km Phase 1, work on which started in 2007, is expected to be ready only in early 2015.

Faster and cheaper mobility is an essential, like food, clothing and shelter as it fuels economic growth, according to M.N. Sreehari, traffic engineering expert. He gives a mere three marks out of 10 to the outgoing BJP government in the fields of traffic infrastructure and performance. However, the Bangalore Traffic Police have performed exceptionally well with all the constraints in not only manning the maddening traffic but also reducing road fatalities, Prof. Sreehari told The Hindu. J.R. Bangera, former president of Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), said the government was able to complete some of the ongoing infrastructure projects, including signal-free corridor on outer ring road (ORR) between the Silk Board and Hebbal; the new ORR between Magadi Road and Mysore Road (Nayandahalli) and so on.

Infrastructure mess

A senior government official working on traffic infrastructure said though the government created new infrastructure on the periphery, it failed to maintain and upgrade existing infrastructure within the city.

“Infrastructure in the core city area (central business district) is in a shambles with dug up roads and mess all around. Unless you improve these areas, traffic management becomes impossible,” he said.

Road widening in the central business district is incomplete. Though Bangalore Palace land was acquired to widen Bellary (International Airport) Road and Jayamahal Road, nothing has happened. Ditto with Hosur and Mysore Roads, the official said.

Challenges ahead

All the three — Prof. Sreehari, Mr. Bangera and the government official — are of the view that the new government should prioritise completion of infrastructure projects within two years.

“Time-bound completion of these projects and taking up new ones to improve mobility will certainly enhance the image of brand Bangalore,” Mr. Bangera said. Besides speedily completing the Nayandahalli flyover on Mysore Road, the new government should focus on constructing truck/container terminals on the periphery to reduce congestion on city roads.

Prof. Sreehari said along with completing Namma Metro, feeder services should also be properly planned. Parking lots should be constructed on a priority which, if in place, would avoid the need for road widening.

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