Residents say repeated complaints to the authorities have fallen on deaf ears.

No more commercialisation Blurus Bellandur residents protest over traffic mess
news Civic Issues Tuesday, August 20, 2019 - 16:18

On the same day that 17 MLAs of the ruling BJP took oath as ministers, residents of Bengaluru’s Bellandur took to the streets on Tuesday in protest demanding a solution for the worsening traffic congestion in the area.

Bellandur on Outer Ring Road (ORR) is a highly populated area with a mix of big offices and residential spaces on the city’s outskirts. It has also been in the news for its infamous lake which has caught fire twice in the last two years.

The residents formed a giant human chain along the Outer Ring Road near Eco Space and The Bay along RMZ Road, demanding that the authorities, primarily the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP), stop further commercial development of the area until the situation improves.

They complained that a drive or ride of less than 2km takes an hour in peak hours and even schoolchildren have to suffer, especially on the stretch between AET Junction, Doddakannalli to Outer Ring Road. Worse still, ambulances get stuck in the congestion putting the lives of patients at risk.

Sonali Singh, a protestor, said, “Further commercial construction will add more commuters to roads which are already gridlocked. The government needs to take urgent measures to solve the mobility problems of this high-density corridor. Until then, no new construction should be allowed.”

The protestors point out that the ban on construction is important as there is a dearth of public transport (BMTC buses, no Metro or suburban rail). The protestors also took exception to the ongoing mega construction work in RMZ Ecoworld.

The metro plan, as part of the second phase to connect KR Puram and Silk Board along the Outer Ring Road, is yet to start. 

“Our point is that we have been going to the authorities— be it the government agencies giving environment clearance, BDA, Urban Development Dept, BBMP commissioner or the Deputy CM in the past, for years. We have written to them several times including the ministers. But now that we have understood that it has fallen on deaf ears, we are forced to protest,” Kavita Suresh, one of the protestors said.

“We are not experts, but the authorities have to stop construction and come up with a solution when we are diligently paying our taxes. We are the highest taxpayers for the whole of Bengaluru but the worst affected due to BBMP’s apathy. We don’t even have streetlights on our flyovers. Accidents due to lack of signages are common. Even reaching hospitals which are less than two kilometres away on the ORR takes more than one hour,” she added.

Residents also point out that due to the increased congestion, the air pollution levels of both PM 2.5 and PM 10 are way above the WHO or national limits permissible, based on the findings by mobile handheld air quality analysers.

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