Monday, November 09, 2009

Underpass uproar has BBMP ducking

Underpass uproar has BBMP ducking
Bangalore, Nov 8, DH News Service :

Outraged by the 'unnecessary' underpass at Tagore Circle at Basavanagudi, a section of Bangaloreans vented their ire at the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Sunday, describing the civic body as an 'autocratic establishment' that thought little about people’s convenience.


The public outcry against the construction of the underpass, which has been raging over the past two weeks, was inflamed during a joint Deccan Herald-Prajavani-organised “Janaabhipraya” which senior BBMP officials, including Commissioner B L Meena, chose not to attend despite invitations.

Present in strength at the public forum, Basavangudi residents unleashed their fury over their voices being repeatedly ignored by BBMP authorities, labelled the urban body as an autocratic establishment. Eminent playwright and activist Professor G K Govind Rao, who has been campaigning relentlessly against the dubious underpass, had harsh words for the apathetic officials and the unscientific nature of development work.

“The arrogance and dishonour showed by the BBMP officials towards the public and their opinion is summed up by the fact that none of them are even present here to hear us,” Professor Govind Rao said. He likened the “development” work carried out in the City to its systematic disintegration into a large burial ground.

Other residents, too, criticised the selective definition of development given by the authorites and accused the government of meting out preferential treatment to a privileged minority, while ignoring the common man. The residents were also unanimous in their vociferous opposition to the BBMP’s “autocratic” decision.

An opinion leader from the locality, T D Srinivas, gave a clarion call to the residents of Basavanagudi to continue opposing the construction of the underpass. He appealed to the residents to protest and carry out ‘satyagraha’ outside the residence of public officials, the BBMP head office and the Vidhana Soudha.
The residents demanded that the BBMP hold a referendum to go ahead with the project. Basavanagudi MLA Ravi Subramanya, too, agreed that the BBMP should have sought public opinion before starting beginning work on the project.

Transparency

Those present wanted the BBMP to come clean on the utilisation of funds for the project and be transparent about the tender process.

Former Bangalore Mayor P R Ramesh said the project was approved by the Centre on the pre-condition that an elected local urban body manage the project.

“The entire project was approved by the Centre only on the condition that the matter be placed before an elected local body. According to the rulebook, any revision of expenditure in JNNURM projects warrants a need to place this before the elected council,” he said.

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