Bengaluru

To widen or not: Sarjapur Road divides citizens

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Citizens appear to be divided over Sarjapur Road, with one group supporting its widening and the other seeking fair compensation for the land to be acquired for the project.

On Saturday, scores of citizens who are part of the struggle committee against Sarjapur Road widening staged a protest over the lack of planning and also sought fair compensation from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). “We will not object to the road widening if the BBMP pays adequate compensation. We don’t want TDR (Transfer of Development Rights). As many as 114 out of the 248 property owners notified about land acquisition have submitted objection to TDR. Only ₹80 crore has been sanctioned for the work, which means compensation is not part of it,” said Bharath Reddy, who is part of the struggle committee. He added that according to the Karnataka Land Acquisition Act, TDR is only one of the options.

The committee pointed out the different land acquisition policies of various government agencies. While the BBMP is offering TDR, the BMRCL has been offering cash compensation. They claimed that the BBMP has not undertaken a social impact assessment or included arterial roads such as Kasavanahalli Road, Harlur Road, and Doddakanneli Junction in the detailed project report.

Meanwhile, another group — SPARSH (Sarjapur Road Parisara Abhivrudhi Sahaya Hasta) — has demanded that the road be widened and all arterial roads be developed. They also want a holistic traffic management plan taking into account pedestrian needs.

Sudhir R. from SPARSH told The Hindu that Sarjapur Road sees nearly 80,000 vehicles a day. “At some spots, the width of the road is just 18 feet. Though the road has overshot its capacity, the civic body is still dragging its feet on the proposed road widening. A government report on it is being ignored,” he said. “We want the civic body to handle the case in a fair and judicious manner while ensuring that citizens’ interests are protected.”

The group has already submitted a petition to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Bengaluru Development Minister K.J. George, and BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad. When contacted, Mr. Prasad conceded that there were two groups of citizens with conflicting views on the project. “On the instructions of Mr. George, I have directed the BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Projects) to visit the area and get the views of both groups. Work will be taken up only after that,” he said, adding the citizens could contact the Special Commissioner directly as well.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 4:05:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/to-widen-or-not-sarjapur-road-divides-citizens/article22921189.ece

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