A year on, more ‘flyover beda’ movements gather steam

A year after a movement to protest against the proposed steel flyover on Ballari Road gathered massive support, the State government is staring at another round of protests, this time against three flyovers, of which the work on two has already begun. The flyover projects are also being legally challenged, and all this at a time when the State is gearing up for the Assembly elections next year.

“The State government doesn’t seem to have learnt any lesson from the steel flyover fiasco. They have gone ahead and started work on a steel flyover at Shivananda Circle and a flyover at Koramangala; and a steel flyover has been proposed at Hudson Circle. None of them has had adequate public consultations, which is evident in the serious objections from the stakeholders now,” said Srinivas Alavilli from Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB), which spearheaded the Steel Flyover Beda protest last year.

Resident welfare associations (RWAs) of areas around Shivananda Circle held a strategy meeting with CfB recently. Multiple RWAs will now implead themselves before the High Court in the public interest litigation (PIL) petition already filed questioning the steel flyover at the Shivananda Circle, apart from launching public protests. The residents held a silent protest in July 2017. However, the BBMP went ahead and started the work.

Chitra Venkatesh of Kumara Park West RWA said there was no public consultation for the project, and most of residents feel the flyover would only shift the congestion from one junction to another — at the railway underpass.

In another part of the city, work on the 2.4-km-long flyover in Koramangala from Kendriya Sadan to Ejipura Main Road junction, touted by the government as a project conceived by local residents, has already begun. But it is set to be legally challenged by the residents.

Priyadarshini D., a resident of Koramangala 2nd Stage, said the project was first proposed in 2011 and the DPR was prepared in 2013. “The public consultation seems to have taken place only with a group of citizens in the third block. None of the other stakeholders has been consulted,” she alleged. She added that the proposed flyover seems to have been designed with the sole purpose of decongesting Sony World junction and is at cross purposes with the signal-free corridor the BBMP wants to implement. With 286 trees on the chopping block, the flyover project is also likely to be challenged before the National Green Tribunal. The CfB has also objected the proposed steel flyover between Hudson Circle and Minerva Circle. Architect Naresh Narasimhan said: “The steel flyover along the alignment will disfigure the historic centre of our city. The view of Town Hall is going to be destroyed and founder Kempe Gowda’s statue is going to get a steel roof. Neither the DPR nor feasibility study is available in the public domain.”

The tender for the flyover is pending approval of the State Cabinet.

‘DPRs outdated; public consultations held years ago’

The BBMP, which is executing all the three flyover projects, claims that public consultation was carried out and people cannot wake up only when work on the ground begins. “All the projects have been in discussion for a long time now. Public notifications were issued years ago for these projects,” said K.T. Nagaraj, chief engineer (projects), BBMP.

However, opposition to the projects have one common thread: all three flyovers were first proposed years ago.

Prashanth Guru Srinivas, founder director of Catalytic Think Tank Forum, now fighting against the Koramangala flyover, said the projects were proposed in 2011; DPRs were prepared around five years ago and are being implemented in 2017. “How can a DPR done four years ago still be relevant? Haven’t the traffic and other situations changed?” He added that DPRs that are older than three years have to be updated and fresh public consultations should be held for the projects.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 8:12:51 AM |

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