Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Underpass bypasses public opinion

Underpass bypasses public opinion
Bangalore, Oct 27, DHNS:

Despite mounting public opinion against an unnecessary underpass at the Rabindranath Tagore Circle in Basavanagudi, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has begun work at the spot.

Shattering the peace of the area, the entire stretch from Tagore Circle till Basavanagudi police station has been dug up over the last three days. All that remains for vehicles to pass through is a 25 feet wide road that allows movement from only one side.

The residents, who were not consulted before the project was taken up, are now left to endure the chaotic traffic, the trenches, dust and safety issues galore. “The civic agencies are just creating chaos. The idea is just an extension of the previous Basavangudi flyover fiasco.” This telling remark by a resident, Venkatram, summed up the public mood. Their troubles are apparently not going to end in a hurry, because the half-kilometre-long, 15-metre wide underpass will not be completed in another 18 months.

Barely three days into the road-digging work, the chaos had begun to tell.
On Tuesday, BMTC buses and other vehicles were found turning into BP Wadia Road and on the other side towards Gandhi Bazaar. Chaos prevailed at Prof Madhav Rao Circle as well. For decades, the residents lived in peace. Not anymore, it appeared.
Here’s why the dug-up road is a recipe for more chaos: Under this stretch runs one sanitary pipeline, five water lines, electric and telecom cables. To check the lines, the BBMP has dug trenches at every ten metres.

BWSSB in the dark

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) was caught unawares about the underpass construction. “We at the senior level have no information about this project. The BBMP is yet to approach us for shifting of the water and sanitary lines,” a top BWSSB official told Deccan Herald.

According to the Water Supply and Sewerage Board, four water lines ranging from 100 to 450 mm in diametre and a 225-mm sanitary line run below the proposed Tagore Circle underpass.

Any shifting of lines would mean at least a 15 to 25 day delay, since fresh tenders would have to be called.

The underpass project had been stalled for nearly three years due to opposition from the local leaders who seem to have vanished overnight.

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