Bengaluru: Hours after the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) restrained BDA from proceeding with construction of the steel flyover for four weeks in an interim stay order, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday night met representatives of Citizens for Bengaluru, who are opposing the project indicating that the government is open to consultations.
Significantly, the delegation claimed that ‘the chief minister has directed BDA to commence work on the flyover from the Hebbal side and review what needs to be done south of Mehkri Circle”.
Bengaluru Development Minister K.J. George, who is championing the project, was not present at the meeting.
Sources in the CM’s office told The Hindu that Siddaramaiah had asked the BDA to consider the Hebbal-Mehkri Circle part of the project first, but that did not mean the CM assured that the remaining part would be scrapped. However, the source said that, through the meeting, the CM assured citizens of further consultations.
This is the first such consultation by the government after insisting all along that the project was finalised and there would be no review.
Earlier in the day, in a setback to BDA, NGT gave an interim stay of four weeks for the steel flyover project, while hearing a petition by Citizen Action Forum and retired bureaucrat V. Balasubramanian, questioning the project. The bench posted the matter for further hearing on November 25.
The petitioners have questioned the project on the grounds that BDA had gone ahead without obtaining necessary environmental clearances and conducting mandatory public consultations.
BDA has been arguing that the steel flyover is a highway expansion project (NH 7) and exempt from the mandatory environment clearance.
However, the petitioners contend that the alignment of the steel flyover has not been declared a national highway.