Staff Correspondent

End to heavy vehicles problem in sight as second phase of ring road is ready for use

The stretch is 11-km-long and connects Hospet Road and Bangalore Road

Rs. 90 crore spent on ring road so far; toll chargeable from vehicles

BELLARY: People from Bellary can look forward to some relief with the district administration planning to throw open the second part of the ring road from National Highway 63 on Hospet Road to traffic on Wednesday. This will free the city of heavy vehicular movement, and consequently noise and air pollution.

Ever since the iron ore boom in 2002, the movement of heavy vehicles had swelled by over tenfold. In the absence of a ring road/bypass, over 10,000 lorries transporting ore towards Chennai, Vishakapattanam and Salem had to pass through the city every day. Due to the ban on movement of iron ore-laden vehicles during day time, the city is flooded with such carriers from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day, putting people living in nearby areas to severe hardship.

As a result of this traffic surge, the city's air has been polluted beyond measure. Demands for respite from this ordeal fell on deaf ears for many years, with elected representatives not bothering to do anything.

Towards bringing about a solution to the problem, Mullangie Ravindra Babu, then Chairman of the Bellary Urban Development Authority (BUDA), during the Janata Dal (S)-BJP regime, came out with a proposal to request farmers to donate land for a ring road, and in turn, BUDA would give them permission to use up to 150 feet on either side of the road for commercial use. After repeated discussions and persuasion, the farmers agreed to part with their land.

By then, the coalition government fell apart and the BJP came to power. Tourism Minister G. Janardhan Reddy took the proposal forward and funds were sanctioned for the project.

The foundation stone for work on the first phase of the ring road was laid on August 15, 2008.

In the first phase, it was decided to develop 7.2 km of ring road between Halkundi on the Bangalore Road and Kakka Bevinahalli on the Anantapur Road, on Design-Build-Operate and Transfer (DBOT) basis. Even as the ‘pucca' road was being laid, heavy vehicles from Bangalore to Andhra Pradesh were allowed to pass through, bringing some relief to people residing between the APMC area on the Bangalore Road and the Taranath Ayurveda College on Anantapur Road. However, the residents near Cowl Bazaar and TB Sanatorium areas continued to suffer as lorries had to pass that way to join the first part of the ring road.

The second part of the road, a 11-km stretch from Hospet Road to Bangalore Road, is ready and will be inaugurated by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on Wednesday.

A sum of Rs. 90 crore has been spent on the 19-km long ring road which covers 137.12 acres of land. Toll will be collected from vehicles passing through it.