The contentious virtual public hearing on the preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the proposed Peripheral Ring Road project in Bengaluru was held on Wednesday as announced.
While the project itself is facing opposition from many quarters on varied aspects, the virtual meet was also opposed on two grounds. One, many of those who will get directly impacted due to this project do not have enough digital literacy or good internet connection to take part in the meet and second, the currently available EIA is incomplete given the project alignment is yet to be finalized. Many concerned citizens had demanded that the detailed project report be made public so that the projectâ€™s merits can be contested and suitable alternatives be suggested.
Wednesdayâ€™s event saw many participating and seeking further details about the project and there were many others who opposed the project completely citing lack of feasibility and wide scale environmental damage.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka High Court passed an interim order stating that the authorities cannot go ahead with the project only taking into account Wednesday's proceedings. The interim order was passed by a bench led by Chief Justice AS Oka while hearing a petition filed by two law students who wanted the online meet to be stayed.
As reported earlier, according to present assessments, 33,838 trees need to be felled and the project will also affect many water bodies including drinking water sources for Bengaluru city. Many who attended the meeting also questioned the validity of the exercise given the final alignment of the project is yet to be finalised.
This means, the Bangalore Development Authority which is executing the 65.5+ km long Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) between Tumakuru Road on the west and Hosur Road on the east via Ballari Road and Old Madras Road cannot go forward with the project without holding another round of public consultation.