The BJP’s Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Bengaluru held a meeting with Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan on implementing the controversial elevated corridor project in the city. This comes despite vehement opposition raised by activists and residents in the city.
The MLAs discussed implementing the project in phases to help reduce the traffic logjam in the city. Officials from the Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) took part in the meeting, the Deccan Herald reported.
The MLAs were in favour of starting work on the corridor from KR Puram to Yeshwantpur and resolved to approach the Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa to allocate funds in the upcoming budget for the same. The MLAs favoured the stretch between KR Puram and Yeshwantpur over the Hebbal-Silk Board route via Jayamahal Road due to ease of acquiring land in this stretch, The Hindu reported.
The meeting was attended by ministers ST Somashekar and Byrathi Basavaraj along with MLAs Arvind Limbavali, SR Vishwanath, Uday Garudachar, S Raghu, Ravi Subramanya and Satish Reddy.
The developments come five months after the Karnataka Chief Minister announced the cancellation of the tender for the elevated corridor's first stage. The first stage, which was proposed last year, covered 21 km and was estimated to cost Rs 6,885 crore. While the tender was scrapped, it remains to be seen if the project is scrapped altogether or whether the tender will be re-issued in the future.
The opposition to the elevated corridor came to a head a year ago in March 2019 when residents and activists in Bengaluru united to protest against the coalition government led by HD Kumaraswamy. The coalition government had allocated funds for constructing a part of the corridor from Baptist Hospital to Silk Board before the Lok Sabha elections last year, but it faced criticism and opposition in the form of street protests.
The main opposition against the project was its high financial costs and its environmental impact. Residents suggested that the public transport in Bengaluru should be strengthened to reduce the traffic on the city's roads instead of adding more infrastructure facilities for private vehicles. The elevated corridor project was also challenged in the Karnataka High Court and the National Green Tribunal.
In June 2019, the Karnataka High Court, while hearing a case in connection with how major infrastructure projects are handled in Bengaluru, had asked the Kumaraswamy-led government to not proceed with the construction of the elevated corridor until the court case is completed.
A few BJP leaders, including Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrashekar and the party's Bengaluru unit chief, NR Ramesh, also opposed the project, although they did not explicitly get involved in protests against it.