Protest planned against elevated corridor tender

Civic groups have organised a rally on Saturday

Published - March 13, 2019 09:34 pm IST

Earlier in 2016, citizens came out in large numbers to oppose the steel flyover project, forcing the government to backtrack.

Earlier in 2016, citizens came out in large numbers to oppose the steel flyover project, forcing the government to backtrack.

Residents and civic groups are preparing to take on the government over the elevated network of corridors in a fight that promises to put the steel flyover protests in the shade.

Civic groups led by Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) have organised a rally on Saturday to demand that the government cancel the tender called for the first phase of the 102-km-long elevated corridor project. Protesters plan to rally under the ‘#ElevatedCorridorTenderRadduMadi’ slogan.

The Karnataka Road Development Corporation Ltd (KRDCL) had floated a tender for the first phase – North South corridor of 22.12 km from Baptist Hospital on Ballari Road to Silk Board Junction – on March 4 without public consultation.

Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike, Environment Support Group and Citizen Action Forum are some of the prominent groups participating in the rally.

N.S. Mukunda of Citizen Action Forum said, “The steel flyover was just a 7-km-long flyover. The city came out in large numbers to oppose the project, forcing the government to backtrack. The elevated corridor will just kill the city, encouraging private transport.” He is confident that citizens will come out in large numbers.

“We tried several things - petitions, meetings, 6,000 post cards, asking for a fair hearing - which is also required by law - so we can all voice our opinion and collectively figure out what’s best for our city,” said Srinivas Alavilli of CfB . “While the government paid lip service, behind the scenes, the files were moving at top speed breaking all norms of propriety and throwing transparency out of the window. We have to fight this battle in the courts and on the streets.”

Citizens for elevated corridor

Not everyone is opposed to the elevated network of corridors. A group of citizens representing nearly 20 Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) petitioned the government on Wednesday expressing support for the mega project.

“The present road network is hopelessly inadequate even for Bengaluru’s present population. The tranquilty of residential zones is being threatened by through traffic, which is taking these roads to avoid clogged arterial roads. Residents are being forced to deal with the air and noise pollution resulting from the flow of traffic in their areas. There is an urgent need to augment the total arterial road network to avoid clogging the internal residential roads of Bengaluru,” read the petition.

Nitin Sheshadri of Koramangala RWA, who led the initiative, said that while they support elevated corridors to augment road infrastructure, their support was a qualified one. They have demanded that the government have dedicated bus lanes on elevated corridors and invest in mass transit systems, such as the suburban rail and metro.

He said, “The debate has been skewed by a few angry voices” and made a case for “the government to do more to make its case among the public at large”.

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