Majority of #Bengalureans today are saddened – not because the government is planning to implement yet another infrastructural project, but because the government has given a go ahead to a project that is neither citizen-driven nor plan-driven. The proposed steel flyover to be constructed from Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal Flyover. Although the Karnataka High Court has taken cognizance of NBF’s PIL and taken an undertaking from the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to not proceed with the project, the state government remains adamant to push the same in a hurry.
Can our city afford to have such adhoc projects that not only jeopardizes the life of this city, but also paves way for blatant misuse of public money?
The three fundamental issues with the proposed project are:
- Cloud of secrecy & no public consultation: Apprehensions over the proposed steel flyover kick started the moment Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) refused to divulge details of the project. Why is the BDA hiding details of the project and why wasn’t there a public consultation in the matter before the government gave its go ahead? NBF has filed several RTIs demanding clarity, but in vain. Details of the project, its cost, the timeline etc. continues to remain a secret. Apart from the Detailed Project Report (DPR), the public has every right to also know:
- Status of acquisition and details of land required.
- Details of design and maintenance.
- Clear understanding on why the government is building a steel flyover and not a concrete one.
- Information on demolition of any existing infrastructures
- The impact of carrying out a project that does not fall under the ambit of the Master Plan.
- Time and again the government and its agencies have failed to work hand-in-glove with the public, thereby leading to more conflicts than agreements. This lack of accountability and transparency on part of the government will only kill Bengaluru and its citizens.
- Does the government care about the MPC? The Metropolitan Planning Committee, which is the overarching planning body of Bengaluru, was not involved at any point in time. The very fact that the project was approved by the BDA’s Technical Advisory Committee reflects the government’s lack of regard for this constitutional body.
- Where is the impact study? With media reports suggesting 812 fully grown trees will be cut down to facilitate the proposed project, the need of the hour is clarity on the impact such a massive infrastructure will have on the environment and aesthetics of the city. Bengaluru’s reference as a ‘garden city’ has dwindled with time, and if projects like these that destroy the very essence of the city are encouraged, soon a time will arrive when the world will perceive us as the ‘graveyard city’!
The civic bodies and administration must respect public’s right to information and must also recognize their right to voice their opinions on major projects like the 6.7 km steel flyover. The demand is crystal clear – no project will be given a thumbs up until all information is disclosed on public domain and a proper consultation takes place.