It has been more than eight years since work began in 2009 on the Hennur flyover on Bengaluruâ€™s Outer Ring Road. When construction started, the authorities assured residents that the flyover would be ready in no more than a year-and-a-half.
Yet, all these years later, the flyover, which is less than a kilometre long, is still showing no signs being anywhere close to completion.
The everyday commute, meanwhile, has turned into a nightmare of gridlock for residents of the area. Not surprisingly, they are fed up and angry, and demanding that the flyover be completed immediately.
â€śPeople who have to go to work have to have an additional hour to pass through here. There are times when people meet with accidents at this junction. Sometimes, ambulances get stuck and are unable to reach hospitals in time. Especially after the rain, there have been instances of waterlogging and roads being completely chock-a-block,â€ť says Nadia Zackria, a resident of Hennur.
Residents complain that the shoddy condition of the service roads has only magnified their problems.
â€śA stretch which used to take five minutes to commute, now takes 45 minutes. Before constructing a flyover, the service roads are made fully functional everywhere but that was not done here,â€ť complains Ranjith V, another local resident.
Protesting the lengthy delay and the consequent inconvenience caused by the proposed Hennur flyover, close to 2,000 residents of the area will stage a â€śsilent and peaceful protestâ€ť on October 29. Among those leading the protests is a local resident named Subramanian K, who has also started a Change.orgpetition addressed to Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah, Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George and local MLAs, which has attracted close to 4,000 signatures.
Residents say that they are tired of the forever postponed deadlines for completing the flyover. â€śLast year, when the petition was filed, we were told that the flyover will be completed by November 2016. But our pleas have fallen on deaf years,â€ť says Nadia.
However, despite their anger, the residents are eager to ensure that their protest is peaceful and does not disrupt peopleâ€™s lives further. â€śResidents of Hennur, HBR and HRBR Layouts will conduct a peaceful protest. This is not politically motivated in any way. We are not looking for support from any political party, but are protesting as a citizen's drive. We will assemble at the junction where the partially-built flyover ends. We will ensure that the police gives us a safe area where we are not hampering traffic,â€ť adds Nadia.
The completion of the Hennur flyover is important not only for nearby localities, but for large parts of the city, whose residents are hampered by the lack of an alternative route to the Kempegowda International Airport. At present, there is only one route to the airport, through Ballari Road, and completion of the Hennur flyover will ease the massive congestion on this route.
According to reports, the Bengaluru Development Authority had claimed in September that the flyover will be completed by November 2017. However, with the latest deadline fast approaching residents say they are sceptical that it will be met.
One of the factors causing delay in the completion of the flyover has been problems with land acquisition, particularly after the new Land Acquisition Act came into effect in 2013.
However, reports say that the shifting of underground pipes by the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board has also delayed the work on the flyover.
Residents had told The Times of India in May that the entire situation had been made worse by a lack of coordination among the different civic agencies.
"In November, BDA started building service roads, but completed them only on one side. BWSSB had to shift the sewage lines on the other side of the road. In January, BWSSB workers dug up a part of the work but haven't returned to complete the work. BWSSB said that there were issues with gas pipelines running underground. However, this has left us with leaking sewage pipelines for nearly five months now," a resident had told TOI.