Sunday, November 08, 2009

Citizens brave weather to protest against underpass

Citizens brave weather to protest against underpass

Staff Reporter
Public express dissent over ‘undemocratic BBMP’
Tagore Circle was dug up overnight, say protesters

‘Despite opposition BBMP went ahead with the project’

— Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Ire against project: Members of the Save Bangalore Committee and residents of Basavanagudi protesting against the construction of the underpass at the Tagore Circle in Bangalore on Saturday.
BANGALORE: Undeterred by the rain and the oncoming traffic, members of the Save Bangalore Committee and several other concerned citizens and organisations lined up at the Rabindranath Tagore Circle in Basavanagudi to condemn the decision of the “dictatorial Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP)” of constructing the underpass at this location.

Demand
Over a 150 people carrying banners of dissent against the BBMP, demanded that their questions be addressed before the work continued.

Angry protesters alleged that it smacked of sheer arrogance on the BBMP Commissioner’s part to say he would continue with the underpass despite public opposition. They unanimously rubbished all claims that 10,000 vehicles passed by the circle every day, and alleged that this was BBMP at its “opportunistic best”, using taxpayer’s money.

“We have not had BBMP elections in years, and therefore have no councillors,” said Prakash Belawadi, filmmaker and journalist, who was at the protest. “It means that the commissioner has to be even more sensitive towards public sentiment; instead he shows no regard for people’s opinion,” he said.

According to Mr. Belawadi, apart from the underpass project being “unwarranted”, it was also destroying an area of great significance. “Gandhi Bazaar is right here; the circle is named after a great writer, there is a history behind this place,” he said, and added that this was a “travesty of the public mandate”.

Others alleged that the other BBMP projects had been executed over indefinite periods, but Tagore Circle was dug up overnight, making them wonder what the “agenda could have been”.

Opposed
The former mayor M. Ramachandrappa said that despite steady opposition for two years, the BBMP had decided to go ahead with the project.

“They are carrying out so many projects in and around the city without public consent; this project must be stopped tomorrow,” he said. Mr. Ramachandrappa said that since the Namma Metro project was being built with the view of easing road traffic, then what use was an underpass.

Writer R.G. Halli Nagaraj was also present. “I came to the southern part of the city because of its environment, and the BBMP has managed to damage this as well,” he said.

H.G. Jayalakshmi, convener, Save Bangalore Committee, and Rajashekhar V.N., joint convener, Save Bangalore Committee, said that they were going to meet the BBMP Commissioner to raise their points.

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