Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday told reporters that work on part of seven elevated corridors spread over 100-km, announced in the budget will begin from January, 2019. The CM announced that users of these roads which will cost Rs 25,495 crore including land acquisition and over 3,700 trees will not be tolled.
"The government of Karnataka has planned for seven elevated corridors to ensure safe, fast and congestion-free connectivity to different parts of the city, The project, which was mooted 12 years ago, will be completed in 8-10 years and officials expect work to begin as early as 2019,â€ť the report approved by the CM said.
â€śWe need to acquire 92 acres of land and pay compensation. We will complete all acquisitions and take possession of land in a year. On government land, the elevated roads will have six lanes, while roads involving private properties will be two-lane ones, with a width of 3.5m. The overall height of the elevated structure will be around 11m,â€ť the CM said, adding only 17 acres of private land needs to be acquired.
The CM added, â€śThose opposing the project, I appeal to them, the doors of Vidhana Soudha are always open. They can meet me or the Chief Secretary,â€ť adding the government will be transparent regarding the project.
The revival of the project which was shelved by the previous Siddaramaiah government owing to massive opposition, has once again started a controversy, with experts and activists calling it flawed. They argue that the project will be a waste of public money as it will be a bane both in the short and long term.
Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB), a citizen activist group, which had led a massive campaign against a Steel Flyover, a 6.7 km project from Basaveshwara circle to Esteem Mall said they will vehemently oppose the Elevated Corridors by forming an umbrella association of groups from all socio-economic levels. They pointed out the government has not furnished details about the economic, environmental and social impact of the project and why other alternatives such as the suburban railway and increasing number of public buses were not considered.
Tara Krishnaswamy, co-founder of CfB, said, â€śThe government should hold public consultation meetings across the city in a concerted fashion, that is what the law asks for. We donâ€™t know how the alignment was decided. The CM is saying that we can go to Vidhana Soudha but it is only a few of us who can get appointments. The government is supposed to provide the document through which the public can educate themselves about the project. Unlike others, this project is going through the heart of the city which is densely populated. So other than the environment and economic aspect, there is a huge social impact. If there are 50 up ramps and down ramps, how will it help the traffic movement in the city? It will only create more bottlenecks.â€ť
Tara also questioned how the government arrived at the tree count for 100 km from. "For the steel flyover, just for 6 km there were more than 2,000 trees. Then there are talks of building over lakes and storm water drain, where is the environmental impact assessment?â€ť she added.
BP Mahesh, an activist who had approached the Supreme Court and the High Court regarding the Shivananda Circle Flyover, said he will oppose the revival of the plan.
â€śThese constructions will destroy the city. Why is the High Court not taking up the matter urgently as it did in the case of flexes and potholes. How can they go on with the project as the matter is yet to be decided?" Mahesh asked. The next date of the hearing on this matter in the High Court has not been fixed yet.