Just days after the Karnataka government told the High Court that it has scrapped the controversial steel flyover project between Bengaluru’s Hebbal to Chalukya Circle, Deputy CM G Parameshwara on Thursday said a concrete elevated corridor will be built on the same stretch.
The elevated corridor between these two points is part of the state government’s plan to build a 102-km network of such elevated roads across the city in four separate corridors connected to the grade by multiple up and down ramps. The entire project too has been currently stayed by the HC.
These elevated roads, he said, will be a measure to counter the vehicular congestion issue plaguing Bengaluru and said the government decided to drop the steel bridge project to do away with the perception of corruption associated with it.
Speaking to reporters, Parameshwara, who also holds the Bengaluru Development portfolio, said, “We have already dropped the steel flyover project and we had also informed the High Court about it. But we need to solve the vehicular congestion issue. Hence, we proposed the elevated corridor project. The steel flyover project was opposed because there was public opinion that there was rampant corruption in relation to the project.”
“There are no such allegations regarding the elevated corridor project. I have asked the officials concerned to prepare a DPR (detailed project report) for the elevated corridor. The DPR will be for the stretch between Esteem Mall to Chalukya Circle. Once DPR is out, we will hold a public consultation and then proceed,” he added.
Srinivas Alavalli, the co-founder of Citizens for Bengaluru, a citizens group consolidated since the mega protests against the steel bridge, said, “If steel flyover had stiff opposition, imagine how much stiffer opposition elevated corridor would have. We request the Honourable Deputy CM to drop the idea and focus on public transport first. We really appreciate the fact that Deputy CM is talking about seeking public opinion.”
From the time the proposal to build the flyover was announced, residents have been staging protests.
In February 2016, 8,000 people had formed a human chain along the route of the proposed flyover from Chalukya Circle to Esteem Mall in protest. Those opposed to the project had argued that the elevated corridor would be futile and will not solve Bengaluru’s never-ending traffic problem.
A study by urban mobility expert and IISc professor Ashish Verma has predicted that at the current rate of private vehicle ownership, the steel flyover would likely end up getting congested on the first day itself.
Moreover, 2,000 trees were planned to be axed to make space for the project, at a time when the green cover of the city is already fading.
Suresh NR of Namma Bengaluru Foundation, one of the petitioners in HC said, “The government did not drop the plan but rather it was forced to. Why is the government again going on the same route? We all know that trees are important not only to provide shade and absorb C02. By not going through simple, inexpensive measures suggested by the public and experts, the government is just wasting money on DPR and other efforts. In this process, it is unnecessarily putting us in hardship and forcing us to go to courts to meet the same fate.”