The opposition to the proposed 95 km elevated corridor project across Bengaluru caught the attention of Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who said that if Bengalureans want to enjoy the traffic situation in the city, they can.
."We will go ahead with the elevated corridor project only if people require it. Or else, the state government will drop it. If people want to enjoy the situation of traffic, they can enjoy," the CM told reporters. He was addressing the media after a detailed project report was presented by third-party consultants to the state government.
"The project is in a discussion phase and these are preliminary meetings. Nothing is finalised now,â€ť Kumaraswamy said.
The CM said that if the project is implemented, it will go through only after thorough public consultation and an environment impact assessment process.
Since the day of the budget announcement, when the project was mentioned, citizen activists and subject matter experts have expressed fear that the expensive project will not only prove counterproductive, but would also have a greater environmental and social cost.
Read: Trees, livelihoods: True cost of Bengaluruâ€™s elevated corridor goes beyond Rs 16K cr
The elevated corridor project was first introduced by former CM Siddaramaiah in his 2014 budget, which was later shelved facing similar opposition. Even a part of this elevated corridor project, the infamous steel flyover connecting the city to the airport, was shelved after stiff opposition from citizens, and after the government was pulled up by the National Green Tribunal.
However, the project cost is estimated to be double than that is stated in the budget proposal as another 152 acres of land needs to be acquired for the project.
As part of their protest against the elevated corridors proposed by Kumaraswamy, many Bengalureans, led by Citizens for Bengaluru, a pan-city civic activist group, posted a live video on social media on Sunday 3pm and 4pm, addressing the CM and other backers of the project.
#ElevatedCorridorBeda #ModoluBusTrainBekuPosted by Bhaskar Sivanathan on Sunday, July 29, 2018
A humble appeal to our Chief Minister #ModaluBusTrainBeku #ElevatedCorridorBedaPosted by Srinivas Alavilli on Sunday, July 29, 2018
My message to our honourable CMPosted by Chidambaran Subramanian on Sunday, July 29, 2018
#ElevatedCorridorBeda #ModaluBusTrainBekuPosted by Ahimanikya Satapathy on Sunday, July 29, 2018
Many of the opponents advocated for cheaper, holistic solutions such as doubling the number of buses in the city while reducing the fares in addition to starting the expansion of the suburban rail network and metro railway.
Read: Elevated corridor wonâ€™t solve Bengaluruâ€™s traffic: Experts on budget proposal