Bangalore, once called “the garden city”, has now become a bustling Center of India’s information technology industry and has earned the distinction of being India’s Silicon Valley. But over the past decade, in the midst of its choked roads and glaring glass facades, Bengaluru is a city dying under its own weight. A lack of social infrastructure, irregular power supply, and scarcity of clean water supply, increasing pollution, a dying ecological environment and a booming population are all hallmarks of a failure in governance, and therein lies the real reason why Bengaluru is dying.
Now, an Rs 1,791 crore project proposed by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to construct a 6.72 km long, 6-lane steel flyover to ease traffic on the route to the International airport has triggered a fresh round of controversy with great public opposition. Here are some of the reasons for the opposition:
Loss Of Greenery:
The project, will require as many as 812 trees to be felled along with loss of further public place and this has especially upset the older residents who are nostalgic about how green the city used to be. The environmental consequences of deforestation is well known.
Given the high cost of steel, its feasibility has been questioned. An alternative and more cost-efficient solution of an extension of the Bengaluru Metro is being suggested but the project backers argue that the flyover will support Karnataka’s iron and steel industry and its construction will be quicker. The tax-paying public is obviously conscious of the way the government is spending its money and such projects will not help the government’s image.
3. Public v/s Private Transport
Building flyovers goes against the grain of encouraging public transport systems over private transport. In effect, the government is incentivising more private ownership of cars and environmental plunder. Public transport will not be allowed on the bridge and pliers can expect to pay two tolls to get to the airport should they choose to use the bridge. The citizens constantly demand better public transport facilities and this move will not help that cause.
4. Is the problem really Solved?
Even if one ignores the externalities of the project, Experts, including ones paid for by the government, have all argued that the bridge will merely shift congestion from one part of Bengaluru to another and lead to, among other things, loss of fragile ecological systems and offer no real solution to the problem of mobility with the bridge expected to save commuters merely 7-10 minutes of travel time to the airport.
5. Political Fiasco
Ever since the project was proposed a political battle between Congress and BJP has pursued with the BJP opposing the project and gaining public support while the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah from Congress accusing the BJP of being “jealous” and of “playing politics”.
There is a public petition which is opposing the steel flyover online. If you are also against it, you can show your support by signing the petition in Change.org. Right now it has got 36000+ signatures.
Yet, the government has used dubious methods to push the proposal through with undue haste, manufacturing consent along the way and ignoring the very loud dissent over the project and is expected to give the project being handled by L&T the green light to start construction. But with public outrage expected to rise with time and with the power of social media today, it won’t be a surprise that should the steel flyover go through, it could be the final nail in the coffin for both Bengaluru and the Congress party in Karnataka…