Each proposal of a new road, flyover or underpass is accompanied by claims (yet to be proved) that it will ease the traffic on the city’s congested roads.

Dear govt how about finishing these Bengaluru flyovers before planning a steel one'Under-construction' Deve Gowda flyover/Shama Sundar SK, Twitter
news #SteelFlyoverBeda Monday, October 17, 2016 - 19:01

Over the years, Bengaluru civic agencies have proposed flyover after flyover, as if they were as easy to make as the city’s ubiquitous street snack of boiled groundnuts.

Each proposal of a new road, flyover or underpass in the city is accompanied by claims (yet to be proved) that they would ease the traffic on the city’s smoky, dusty, and noisy roads. Just like they serve masala peanuts complimentary with drinks.

With the strictest adherence to this standard operating procedure, this time too, civic officials and the state government have claimed the proposed 6.7km-long steel flyover on the Hebbal-Chalukya circle stretch would solve traffic woes.

There’s just the tiny little matter of the cost being Rs 1,350 crore rupees. What’s a thousand crore for a broke BBMP when the state government pumps about Rs 5,000 crore into the BBMP-BDA blackhole annually?

In any case, an overwhelming majority of the city’s one crore people – 73% of the 299 people who sent responses to the BDA (you read that right) – were in favour of the flyover. Somehow, the 5,000-odd people who formed a massive human chain along the planned flyover route on Sunday, do not appear to have made a mark. The placards they held up mostly trashed the project, which they said was designed to “steal” more from their city, just like other flyovers in the city have in the past, with no sight of the claimed benefits to either the city, or its people.

Deve Gowda petrol bunk flyover

In keeping with the idea of Indian Stretchable Time, there’s not much of a flyover at the Kittur Rani Chennamma Circle Junction, connecting NH 209 (Kanakapura Road) with State Highway 17 (Mysore Road).

The foundation stone for the flyover to be constructed near Deve Gowda petrol bunk at Padmanabhanagar was laid some time in 2009.

After that, there’s been a visible thawing of enthusiasm. According to this BBMP document from 2013, the site was handed over to the contractor after issuing the work order in December 2013. The date of contract completion was April 2016 and the construction was supposed to take 18 months, the maintenance, two years. However, the document says that the construction was only 36% completed by December 2013.

The hopes of harrowed commuters rose in 2014 when media reports said the project would finally start. But in March 2015 officials finally acknowledged that the project was delayed due to problems with land acquisition.

And then there are these reports from May and August this year, which show that little progress has been made.

Long story short, snails are faster.

Hennur junction flyover

Another flyover project delayed by over five years. (Surprise!)

Proposed in 2009, the flyover meant to decongest Lingarajpuram-Hennur stretch on the Outer Ring Road was supposed to be completed within 18 months. It would have been competed by December 2011, if the government hadn’t sort of forgotten to issue the notification for acquiring the land.

While the BDA began the work in 2010, it was tripped this time by a wire, literally. Turns out the hurdle was a low-hanging high-tension wire.

And so, about 53,000 square meters of land took about four years to acquire, and Rs 30 crore more than it would have cost had the acquisition been done on time.

Goraguntepalya flyover

In October 2015, an 8-year-old boy wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about how an under construction flyover at Goraguntepalya junction on Outer Ring Road was making him late to school.

Abhinav Suresh, a resident of Doddabommasandra, said it was taking him 45 minutes to cover the three-kilometer stretch between his home and school in Yeshwanthpura.

The Prime Minister replied to the boy but the flyover sadly, remained incomplete.

The construction of the 1.1 kilometer stretch between BEL circle and Guranguntepalya junction was to begin in2013, but even in 2015, things really hadn’t changed much, because BDA really cannot get land acquisition right. When will you learn, BDA?

In April 2016, KV Aditya Bharadwaj reported for The Hindu that the construction was finally going to begin.  

Byappanahalli flyover

South Western Railway (SWR) and BBMP announced the construction of railway over bridge at Byappanahalli level crossing in 2012. Commuters may have heaved a sigh of relief but by October next year, only 40% of the construction had been completed.

The problem here was once again – no points for guessing - land acquisition: authorities were unable to acquire 2.5 acres of land from Madras Engineers Group and Center and also faced objection from defense officials for undertaking construction on the Old Madras Road.

Four years later, in June this year, Siddaramaiah allotted a six-month deadline for the completion of the project. Two more months to go.

According to a report in The Hindu, the BBMP was to swap 2.2 acres of leased land for equivalent amount of defense land. Finally, right? Except for one tiny problem: BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad told The Hindu that they would only be able to begin the work by August, given that the SWB would have to call for new tenders as the older contract had been cancelled.

 

With commuters still waiting for the authorities to fulfil these promises, must they really be making a new one, and one which seems to be agitating citizens from the word go? Perhaps a time to dig a little deeper.

 

(Edited by Anisha Sheth)

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