First it was apathy by the political and bureaucratic class that delayed the skywalk project in Bellandur. But now residents and pedestrians who frequent the outer ring road in Bellandur, Bengaluru are upset with the Election Commission.
Work for a skywalk between Akme Harmony apartments and Salarpuria softzone built with Public Private Partnership (PPP) on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis. has been stalled by the Election Commission on grounds of poll code violation.
Election Commission Bellandur Patrol Flying Squad officer Vinayak Naik stopped the work on Friday.
Although, the BBMP council's approval was given on March 13, BBMP officials could not grant work orders owing to late submission of bank guarantee by the contractor.
The Model Code of Conduct came into place on March 27 and the bank guarantee was submitted to the BBMP on April 5.
Residents are wary that their lives have been put in danger again as minor accidents keep recurring on a regular basis.
“It is a pedestrian's right to cross the road alive. It is the BBMP’s duty to keep pedestrians safe— all across signal-free corridors. Who will do the BBMP’s operational works if civic works stall due to a poll code? This is illogical," a resident told TNM.
Responding to pleas by residents, the BBMP has approached the Chief Electoral Officer.
“The BBMP Chief Engineer Mr Somasekar has written a letter to the CEO asking for approval so that the life-saving SanjayGiri skywalk opposite Akme Harmony Apartments on Bellandur-ORR, can continue on a criticality basis. He said this would take three days. We request all Bellandur residents to report to the BBMP Sahaaya app,” Vijaya Bhat, Bellandur Jothege (a citizen action group) member said
The nearest skywalk from the spot is in Ecospace, at least a kilometre away and there is a four-way junction at Iblur, which was also built using CSR funds.
TNM could not get a response from Bengaluru Commissioner Manjunath Prasad who is also the district election officer.
The stretch which is a signal free corridor is a hell for pedestrians and has seen numerous accidents in recent times. Citizen groups had been demanding a skywalk and better pedestrian facilities from sometime now.
In December, 2017 after one person died while crossing the road, more than thousand citizens protested along the stretch demanding a skywalk. This forced the MLA Aravind Limbavali and corporator Asha Suresh to initiate dialogue with the residents but both said nothing can be done due to paucity of funds.
Ten days later Bengaluru Central MP PC Mohan intervened in the matter and arranged CSR funds for the project and assured that a skywalk would be built in three months time. He also persuaded BMRCL officials to okay the project.