Bengaluru Steel Flyover
There is a lot of hue and cry going over the Karnataka government’s decision to build a steel flyover in Bangalore, covering a distance of 6.72 km to ease the commute from the city to the international airport.
The decision has drawn the ire of environmentalists, technocrats and citizens who are continuously organising large protests against the project.., which will cost a staggering Rs 1,800 crore and 812 trees. But at the same time, citizens have also been demanding for improved connectivity to the airport that is located 37 km away from the city. Despite the presence of 30-km toll expressway, citizens cannot avoid the traffic pile-up on a seven km stretch inside the city that leads to NH7.
What Is the flyover About?
The 1,791 crore project by Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) will be a six-lane steel flyover from Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal that will eventually ease traffic pressure to the International airport at Devanahalli. The proposed project will be completed in 24 months and be open by 2018. It is estimated that as many as 2.68 lakh vehicles will use the flyover every day.
During the construction of this flyover, around 812 trees have to be chopped down. It is also estimated that the expense of the flyover will increase because of maintaining the steel. Flyovers have only limited success in ensuring smooth flow of traffic. The flyovers just shift a jam from one place to another. The traffic will increase in the coming years, and the steel flyover will also get clogged.
Why suddenly a steel flyover?
The BDA proposed that the steel flyover will be more time-effective than a concrete one. In this project, around 60,000 tonnes of steel will be assembled at the site in a time frame of two years. Project backers also argue it will support Karnataka’s iron and steel industry. However, countering the argument, it can be said that the steel flyover will sustain a lot of corrosion if not maintained well.
The only solution to the city’s traffic burden is to promote mass transportation such as monorail, light rail transit, commuter rail system and the metro, which cost less and have a higher carrying capacity of passengers per hour per direction.
Who all are opposing the project?
The project has seen strong protests from the older residents of the Bangalore. The ground of this protest is that the project will significantly reduce the green cover of the city and it will encourage more private cars to ply in the city instead people preferring to take public vehicles. Citizens have started online petitions to garner the support of the Bangaloreans. One of the petition reads, Bangalore needs a comprehensive mobility plan with focus and large-scale investment in public transportation… (and) the proposed steel flyover (gives) a strong signal (that the government) prefers to cater to the private sector…”.
The historian Ramachandra Guha, actor Prakash Belawadi, entrepreneurs Priya Chetty Rajagopal and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde have all voiced strong protests. It is also believed that the only solution to the city’s traffic burden is to promote mass transportation such as monorail, light rail transit, commuter rail system and the metro, which cost less and have a higher carrying capacity of passengers per hour per direction.
The protestors are using #SteelFlyoverBeda to voice their protest. They are also taking signatures of people on the ground.
Who are in favour of the project?
The residents living in the new areas of northern Bangalore are in favour of this project. Even the BDA has campaigned for the project by putting out specifications and creating awareness videos.
The present scenario
The plea to the Karnataka High Court by the citizens and Namma Bangalore Foundation to stall this project has not yielded any results so far as the court has cleared the implementation of the project. According to the government sources, the construction of the flyover will begin soon.
Whatever be the result and whichever side you are on, it is amazing to see thousands of citizens coming together to voice their protest against something they disagree with. It is healthy for the democracy. The Logical Indian community appreciates everyone involved in the campaign and we hope it creates awareness about the environmental issues among the citizens.