Amid the opposition to the ongoing and proposed flyovers in the city by citizens, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), in its Budget presented on Thursday, announced five new flyovers along with cost escalation to nine ongoing flyover projects.
“There is a need to decongest Bengaluru traffic, improve traffic flow at junctions, and create signal-free traffic corridors. In this regard, flyovers and underpasses are proposed to be taken up during 2023–24 itself,” said BBMP Special Commissioner for Finance Jayaram Raipura.
The BBMP said there are 42 flyovers and 28 underpasses in Bengaluru.
Activists opposed the announcement by the BBMP. Vinay Sreenivasa, a civic activist, said, “When there is a separate body to take decisions on flyovers — that is the BMLTA, I don’t think they (the BBMP) has to announce flyovers without consulting the BMLTA. Rather than spending on flyovers, the BBMP has to spend on more bus stops and other public transport-friendly initiatives to decongest the traffic.”
Srinivas Alavilli, a citizen activist, said we cannot oppose all flyovers, but the BBMP, without consulting experts and residents, proposes unwanted flyovers which are really not needed.
A whopping ₹1,375 crore in the Budget outlay is going to fund project cost escalation. This comes days after the Opposition Congress alleged that the government had been resorting to showing inflated costs for projects, sometimes double to what was estimated earlier, claiming this indicated corruption.
BBMP Chief Commissioner Tushar Giri Nath said the project cost escalation was at the Detailed Project Report stage and the State government had asked the civic body to fund the escalation from its own resources.
Further, a large chunk of this is being funded by raising long-term loans from the Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation. The Budget speech allots “additional grants” of ₹965 crore for nine projects, most of them grade separators, of which ₹770 crore will be financed through loans. The State government had earmarked ₹1,000 crore for white topping 150 km of roads in the city, but the project now costs ₹1,410 crore and the civic body would fund the gap, Mr. Giri Nath said.