From driverless pod taxis to goods trains to transport Bengaluru’s waste to Kolar, the city’s civic body has come up with myriad schemes for Bengaluru’s “development” over the years. The latest one is whitetopping Indiranagar’s 100-feet road, which is currently in a reasonable condition and spending Rs 28 crore public funds for one project. The story was first reported by Bangalore Mirror.
On Wednesday, CV Raman Nagar MLA S Raghu laid the foundation stone for the project, which was met with opposition from Indiranagar’s residents, who stated that the project was approved without public consultation. They argued that the funds allocated for whitetopping could be better utilised in creating pedestrian-friendly footpaths for the stretch and also repairing roads in the area, which have become nightmares for motorists.
BBMP officials said that whitetopping the 1.8-km stretch is “necessary” due to the heavy traffic it witnesses every day. “We are also planning to construct wide footpaths but the problem is most footpath space is being used for parking and pedestrians don’t have space to walk,” a senior BBMP official said.
Residents of Indiranagar and members of civic group I Change Indiranagar met with BBMP officials and submitted their requests regarding holding public consultations to ensure that there is better planning for the project. Several residents too said that the redevelopment project is a “waste of public funds”.
Satish Rao, a member of I Change Indiranagar, said that the BBMP could have utilised the funds to repair the Jeevan Bhima Nagar Main Road, which had been dug up in many parts by the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board. The dug up main road, which is perpendicular to 80-feet road in Indiranagar has become a nightmare for motorists due to its bad condition, he said.
“Why doesn’t the BBMP desilt storm water drains and develop slum areas where hutments cannot withstand monsoons currently? If they want to develop roads, 10% of the Rs 28 crore is enough to repair Jeevan Bhima Nagar Main Road and make it pedestrian-friendly and also help motorists?” Satish questioned.
Members of I Change Indiranagar have also demanded that the BBMP install rain water harvesting facilities and separate cobblestone paths where the sewage and electricity cables are laid. This is to ensure that the road is not dug up by BWSSB or Bescom, which would damage the roads and cause inadvertent delays in repairs.
“The problem with the project is that public consultation did not happen and BBMP has not shared the detailed project report with the people. The footpaths are so bad. The footpath level has been increased and people living along 100-ft road are not even able to open their gates properly. The plan should include a separate pedestrian walking zone, a separate cycle stretch too,” Satish said.
Residents said that the same funds could also be utilised to repair interior roads in Indiranagar as many of them have been dug up by BWSSB and Bescom. Many have not yet been repaired like 18th Main Road, 13th Main and other adjacent roads.
Speaking to TNM, Pralhad, BBMP Chief Engineer for Road Widening, said that the civic body has taken residents’ suggestions into consideration and that the agency is planning to tweak the project design to include wider footpaths, a bicycle lane and also include a rainwater harvesting system.
“We will have to rework the design and then call for public consultation. The residents want Bescom’s Ring Main Units (control panels for transformers), which are on the footpath to be removed. We have to factor this,” he said.