Friday, December 18, 2009

BBMP hid facts about Tagore Circle underpass?

BBMP hid facts about Tagore Circle underpass?

Deepika Arwind
‘Part of adjoining properties has to be ceded for the project’
51.68 sq. mts. of land is the additional requirement of the project

52 trees must be felled for the underpass

BANGALORE: Here is a startling revelation about the Tagore Circle underpass project in Basavanagudi that has drawn strong opposition from local residents. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), drafted in 2006, states that land acquisition from adjoining properties is mandatory for the project — a fact not revealed to residents for over three years.

Basavanagudi Boys’ Middle School, MNK Park and private properties will be asked to give up portions of their land to facilitate this project. The report clearly states that 51.68 square metres is the additional requirement of the project. “The project requires over 33 metres for the width, but only 27 metres are available,” M. Venkatesh, a resident of Basavanagudi, among the few to have read the DPR, told The Hindu.

Apart from this, the DPR shows that 52 trees must be felled for the underpass, five times the figure quoted by the BBMP, which had said only 10 trees will be lost, and these have already cut down.

The DPR states that “it is proposed to plant two saplings in the adjoining areas to restore the ecological balance”. However, there is no mention of when the planting will begin, or which “surrounding areas” have been charted out for this.

Moreover, the DPR, prepared by Stupp Consultants, has taken into account passenger car units (PCU) for movement in 15 different directions at Tagore Circle.

M.N. Srihari, traffic expert and a member of the Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure and Development (ABIDe) Task Force, told The Hindu as the underpass only brings traffic from K R. Road towards the National College flyover in Basavanagudi, 15 directions clearly “inflates the PCUs”.

Moreover, as the DPR was prepared in 2006, “the PCUs could not have been so high” even if the aforementioned 15 directions were being taken into consideration.

Mr. Ventakesh said so many trees and precious lung spaces like the much-loved MNK Park do not have to be compromised for a project that is unnecessary in the first place. “When was the BBMP planning to inform residents about the land acquisition if the DPR was prepared three years ago?” he asked.

Gopinath C R., a resident of K R. Road, said the survey has to be authenticated by a reliable agency with public acknowledgement. “In 2004-05, four underpasses and flyovers were thrust upon Basavanagudi residents. The V.V. Road flyover, built against public opinion, has less than 30 per cent utilisation even today,” he said.

Meanwhile, the work at the Tagore Circle underpass seems to have come to a standstill for over two weeks now. Residents said there has not been much progress since it began over two months ago.

BBMP officials, however, were unwilling to provide a clear reason for the stoppage. Officials, after a furious round of passing the buck to different departments, told The Hindu that “it only seems that the work had stopped” because they were in the process of coordinating with other civic utilities such as Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM).


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