The alarming spike in the number of private vehicles plying Bengaluru’s roads coupled with low number of traffic police personnel has only worsened the state of affairs for pedestrians in the city. Outer Ring Road, a signal-free corridor, is one of the worst affected parts of the city.
Frustrated by the rising number of accidents witnessed on this road, residents of Bellandur had proposed building a privately funded skywalk. But red tape and endless paperwork ensured that it never got off the ground.
But the Mayor of Bengaluru delivered a ray of hope to residents – he promised to give them the Council’s assent on March 12.
The stretch outside Akme Harmony Apartments on one side and Cloudnine Hospitals on the other is particularly lethal having witnessed multiple accidents where pedestrians have lost their lives on been hit by speeding vehicles.
On failing to convince their ward councillor, Asha Suresh, that they needed a skywalk urgently, residents under the umbrella of Bellandur Jothege, a citizens’ collective, met the Mayor directly.
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.
“Asha Suresh did not propose the skywalk to the Council. Bellandur Jothege had asked the Mayor to approve of it speedily. Now, the mayor will suo motu call the file himself and approve it, based on citizens’ Critical Life-Saving Request,” a resident said.
“There should have been no delay. Work should have started by now for sure. Things slowed down after the Executive Engineer of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike was transferred on February 15, and the reason for this move is suspect. We finally got the approval of the Chief Engineer on Februar 9 and now, only the BBMP has to give a go-ahead,” the resident added.
Officials were forced to act after hundreds of Bellandur residents formed a human chain on December 6, protesting the death of a 19-year-old who died a brutal death on being hit by a speeding vehicle outside Akme Harmony Apartments. Sanjay Giri, the victim, worked as a security guard at the apartment complex.
Residents of the area unanimously decided to name the proposed skywalk after him.
Following the December protests, the HSR Traffic Police Station agreed to provide additional personnel on ground to assist pedestrian movement till the skywalk is built. But they were withdrawn within a month.
After multiple meetings between BBMP officials and MLA Arvind Limbavali, residents finally saw a ray of hope when Bengaluru Central MP PC Mohan stepped in and arranged private funds for the skywalk.
He was also instrumental in getting a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the metro railway authorities. A mandatory NOC from the metro authorities was also another hindrance to the project that residents were facing.