Karnataka

Hunsur road-widening begins amidst protests

District in-charge Minister H.C. Mahadevappa, MP Pratap Simha, MLA Vasu and others at the Guddali puja for Hunsur Road in Mysuru on Monday; (right) Members of Mysore Grahakara Parishat staging a demonstration against the beginning of the straightening work.

District in-charge Minister H.C. Mahadevappa, MP Pratap Simha, MLA Vasu and others at the Guddali puja for Hunsur Road in Mysuru on Monday; (right) Members of Mysore Grahakara Parishat staging a demonstration against the beginning of the straightening work.  

The contentious project of widening and straightening the curve on Hunsur Road near Jaladarshini guest house got off to a start here on Monday despite strong opposition by the Mysore Grahakara Parishat and some activists.

Even as protests and counter-protests took centre stage with elected representatives cutting across party lines coming out in support of the ₹12 crore project, Mysuru MP Pratap Simha performed the ground-breaking ceremony in the presence of Minister in-charge of Mysuru District H.C. Mahadevappa and MLA Vasu in front of Jaladarshini Guest House.

Before the ceremony, the activists, comprising Maj. Gen. S.G. Vombatkere (retd), Dr Bhamy V. Shenoy, both former MGP presidents, and several others, staged a demonstration in front of the guest house opposing the project. The protesters argued that the project was ‘unscientific’ and results in the cutting down of many old trees in the heritage precincts. “We tried to put forth our concerns to the MP but he was not ready to listen to our suggestions and went ahead with the launch,” said Dr. Shenoy.

‘Cut Speed not Trees’, ‘Restrict Vehicle Speed to 40 km’ were among the messages on placards the protesters carried during the demonstration.

The MGP had recently petitioned Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to drop the project, arguing that it should not be carried out at the cost of old and mature shade-giving roadside trees, including those in the heritage precincts of Jaladarshini Guest House, DC’s residence, and Regional Commissioner’s Office. The project is meant to prevent accidents on this road stretch, reckoned to be an accident zone. But the MGP argued that if the road stretch is widened and straightened, it will only facilitate increase in the speed of vehicles, resulting in more fatal accidents.

“The project will create bigger problems than giving a solution. Instead of harming the heritage area, it should be conserved looking at various alternatives to reduce the accidents,” he said.

Dr. Shenoy said the MGP will move a local court as well a higher court against the project with no hopes on saving the trees. “Legal route seems to be imminent with elected representatives and authorities giving no heed to our concerns and suggestions despite being engineers and urban planners,” he said.

Accident victims’ families, MLA Vasu and the MP supported the project stating the project will save the lives of people preventing accidents. As many as 11 people have died in accidents at this spot.

The Centre had allocated funds to carry out the work with the road being part of NH-275. Like trees, human lives are also important and more trees will be planted to compensate the loss, he said.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 2:34:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hunsur-road-widening-begins-amidst-protests/article19994385.ece

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