Another pedestrian accident on Bengaluru's ORR: When will promised skywalks get built?

The Outer Ring Road is one of the most accident prone zones in the city, and yet the BBMP continues to delay the construction of skywalks.
Another pedestrian accident on Bengaluru's ORR: When will promised skywalks get built?
Another pedestrian accident on Bengaluru's ORR: When will promised skywalks get built?
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Bengaluru’s Outer Ring Road, known as the death trap for pedestrians, now has another reason to add to its infamy. Devoid of skywalks, this busy stretch is one of the most accident-prone zones in the city. On Friday afternoon, 20-year-old Divya, an employee with HDFC Bank was crossing the road near Prestige Tech Park, when a tempo traveller rammed into her. The impact resulted in Divya incurring grievous injuries.

According to HSR Layout Traffic Police Inspector Sanjay Rayappa, the driver of the vehicle, 31-year-old Venkatesh allegedly rushed her to Sakra Hospital soon after the accident. “Due to the seriousness of the injuries, she was shifted to NIMHANS, where she is under observation,” Inspector Sanjay said.

Just like Divya, numerous pedestrians crossing the Outer Ring Road have to risk their lives as the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has not completed the construction of the seven skywalks along the Outer Ring Road, since the project was conceptualised in 2017.

According to Priya Venkat, a resident of Bellandur and a member of the citizens’ group Bellandur Jothege, the residents have lost count of the number of accidents along the stretch. The ORR was intended to be a signal-free corridor, connecting opposite ends of the city. Conceptualised in 1996, the ORR stretch was hardly inhabited then, but now it is home to multiple tech parks and large apartment complexes. Currently, from Iblur to Marathahalli alone, there are four major tech parks —  Ecospace, Embassy Tech Village, Prestige Tech Park and Cessna Business Park.

Although there is no specific data on the number of deaths on Outer Ring Road, the state Home Department earlier this year, in a written reply to MLC TA Saravana, admitted that it is one of the worst stretches for pedestrians.

“There have been seven serious accidents that have hurt pedestrians since the beginning of this year but more importantly, the smaller, minor ones are numerous and keep happening every day. Pedestrians being bumped against by two-wheelers, autorickshaws and cars causing minor injuries go unreported as people do not end up filing police complaints. It is a reality nonetheless,” Priya says.

Currently, the BBMP has taken up the construction of seven skywalks near Innovative Multiplex, Iblur Junction, Central Mall, JP Morgan, Kalamandir, Sarjapur Road near Springfield and New Horizon School.

The BBMP, which began the excavation work for constructing the skywalk near Kalamandir, abandoned the work in May. The body maintains that the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corpoation Limited, which is constructing the metro in the area, did not grant permission to construct the skywalk. When TNM contacted BMRCL, the officials said that the approval was granted in June 2018 and that the BBMP was yet to take up the work.

The BBMP began constructing the skywalk near Central Mall in May this year. However, the work was abandoned in June and the construction has not yet resumed. The construction of the skywalk proposed near New Horizon School has not yet taken off. Similarly, work has stopped at Sarjapur Road near Springfield.

“The contract for the skywalk near Springfield was given to a company connected to I Monetary Advisory. Since IMA and its holdings are under investigation by SIT, the work has stopped now,” a BBMP official told TNM.

In December 2017, Bengaluru Central MP PC Mohan had promised residents of Bellandur that the long-demanded skywalk on ORR near Akme Harmony Apartments and Cloudnine Hospitals would be ready in three months. What prompted the announcement was a massive human chain protest by citizens in the wake of the tragic death of 19-year-old Sanjay Giri, who used to work as a security guard at the apartment complex.

Sanjay was run over by a speeding cab and was declared dead when brought to the hospital. While the incident involving Sanjay might have brought the people out to the streets, the demand for a skywalk has been a long-standing one.

The skywalk near Akme was only completed a month ago.

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