The first stage consisting of 21 km divided into three packages was pegged at a cost of Rs 6,885 crore.

Karnataka CM orders cancellation of Bengaluru elevated corridor project tender
news Civic Monday, September 16, 2019 - 19:22

In a relief to many Bengalureans who have consistently opposed the contentious 90-km elevated corridor project worth thousands of crores, Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa on Monday cancelled the existing tender for the corridor's first stage.

The first stage consisting of 21 km divided into three packages was pegged at a cost of Rs 6,8885 crore. However, it remains unclear if the present government has scrapped the project altogether and will re-issue the tender. 

A statement from the CMO said, “KRDCL had planned an Elevated Corridor Road of total 87.87 kms to solve the traffic problem. They invited tender for the first 21.54kms under 3 packages which would cost 6,885 cr approx. Media and others have claimed that there are irregularities in tender process and project execution plan and hence the above mentioned tender for first 21.54 kms has been cancelled.”

It added, “KRDCL has been ordered to make a new plan with practical approximate expenditure.”

In addition to the allegation that the project will impact environment adversely, it is also mired in legal disputes with citizens opposing it in the Karnataka High Court and the National Green Tribunal separately. The HC had also asked the previous Kumaraswamy government not to proceed with the matter further until it hears in a case in connection with how big infrastructure projects are undertaken in the city.

Other than the high financial cost and environmental costs, people had opposed the project due to lack of feasibility studies and legally mandated public consultation process which subsequent governments had tried to bypass.

Read: Elevated corridor beda: Bengaluru residents fight new govt plan

Most recently in March, thousands of citizens had hit the streets opposing the mammoth structure and instead demanded sustainable solutions to the city’s traffic problem. They asked for better roads, cheaper and better bus service, suburban trains and expansion of the metro rail.

Srinivas Alavilli, co-founder of Citizens for Bengaluru, a citizen collective which campaigned for cancellation of the tender said,  “We stand vindicated. More than 3000 people showed up at Mourya Circle with one loud slogan #TenderRadduMaadi! We are grateful to the CM for cancelling this ill conceived anti people project. The solutions are in public transport - we urge the government to urgently procure more bus, reduce bus fares, make bus priority lanes on major roads, expedite suburban and metro.”

However, he added that the prospect of re-tendering is worrisome. "We humbly urge the CM to shelve the project and focus entirely on public transport," he said

Another citizen collective Whitefield Rising said, “Great news that the elevated corridor tender  has been scrapped. GoK should constitute UMTA (Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority and get real traffic experts to study the ground realities and come up with the most optimum solution. Increasing Public Transport options and bridging the last mile connectivity issues should be the number one priority.”

The Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike (BBPV) also made a simialr demand welcoming the tender cancellation.

"We welcome the fact that the tender has been cancelled. We also demand an inquiry into how this project was approved and tender called for in violation of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act. If the government is serious about the inquiry, they must also conduct an inquiry into the EC that was granted in most suspicious circumstances," they said.

BBPV added, "We also demand that the project itself be scrapped. We demand that the money instead be allotted to BMTC in order to build a pro people bus system with larger fleet and lower fares. We also ask that public consultations be done through ward committees and the MPC to assess the mobility needs of people so that effective solutions be planned that are pro-people."

Sandeep Anirudhan, Founder - Citizens Agenda for Bengaluru, said, "Its great news that illegal and ad-hoc project Elevated Corridors is cancelled.  BJP in its election manifesto has promised the MPC and UMTA.  We feel the govt should focus on empowering decentralised and democratic planning, with transparent public consultation.  A masterplan by the MPC in consultation with the UMTA should decide the multi-modal and integrated mobility plan for the city.  Until then, the government should put it's might behind the much demanded Suburban Rail on existing infrastructure, providing 15 minute periodicity on six rail corridors, and rationalise BMTC routes providing dedicated bus lanes and short route feeder services to railway and metro stations."

Also read:Over 3000 trees to be axed, lakes will be impacted by Bengaluru elevated corridor: EIA

 

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