Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Where do we go from here?

Where do we go from here?
BTM Layout, JP Nagar, BSK and Ilyasnagar Layout Residents Protest Widening Of Ring Road

Bangalore: What began as a small affair turned out to be a huge demonstration on Monday morning. Around 2,000 residents from BTM Layout, JP Nagar, Banashankari and Ilyasnagar Layout assembled to protest the widening of Ring Road from Mysore Road junction to Central Silk Board, as it would require demolition of parts of houses.
Politicians, writers and artistes gathered at a convention hall to support the residents, who are anxious as many properties have been marked with red paint. There is uncertainty over whether only parts of the houses will be demolished or the entire structure.
BBMP has decided to widen 14.5-km stretch of the Ring Road from Mysore Road to Silk Board, to eight lanes. The Rs 200-crore project will be at the cost of demolition of parts of almost 2,000 properties.
Besides the red markings and two notices in newspapers, no notification has been issued so far. “One fine morning a week ago, I saw a red marking on the wall of our hospital. Then I saw another marking made very recently on how much land is to be taken over,” said Padmini Pampapathi, whose husband runs a veterinary hospital in JP Nagar. The widening is said to have been planned in 2005, but residents complained they were never informed about it.
For many, what may be demolished is not only a means of livelihood, but something that is close to their heart. “Many residents are senior citizens. They have built houses with a lifetime’s earnings. Moving out is not a feasible option for them,” said D B Meundi, president, J P Nagar Citizens’ Association.
“I have been running this business for years. There is no other means for survival if my shop is demolished,” said Kaleem Ulla Shariff, a businessman. Almost 75% of properties in question was sold to the owners by BDA itself, residents pointed out.
“The road is 100 feet wide. What is the need to increase it to 150? If the answer is to ease traffic congestion, will they further increase it to 200 feet after 10 years? Widening roads is not the answer to traffic congestion,” said a protester.
Former minister PGR Sindhia said: “The BBMP is wasting money in the time of recession. The economy is already down.”
Residents want the BBMP to:
Drop the scheme
Pay heed to amicable
Build flyovers and underpasses instead
Development always comes at a cost. It’s time for us to think about growing vertically,” Mohan Krishna B T, BBMP assistant executive engineer, said. Palike officials tried to empathize with the residents. T N Chikkarayappa, chief engineer, said: “The job has been transferred to BBMP from BDA. I will convey the residents’ mood to the commissioner.”


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