Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Govt does about-turn on roads

Govt does about-turn on roads

The BBMP has been told to stop the work on widening 72 major streets of Bangalore

Srikanth Hunasavadi. Bangalore



After the announcement of the calendar for the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) polls, Opposition parties were quick to point out that the time available before the code of conduct comes into force could be used by the BJP-led state government to announce a slew of development works to entice voters.
What no one anticipated was that some work already begun might be stalled — on Tuesday, the government decided to stop the project for widening 72 major roads in the city. This, despite demolition work having begun in some areas, like Tannery Road. The decision to halt the work was taken in view of a possible backlash from people whose property would be demolished.
Speaking to reporters, city in-charge minister R Ashok said, "Road widening projects have faced a lot of opposition. The High Court too has raised serious objections and granted a stay against executing the project on several roads. We have instructed the BBMP to stop the project for now."
Ashok added, "The road widening work was cleared nearly five years ago; however, the BBMP only took up the work recently. In the five years since the work was cleared, much has changed. The city now has ring roads and peripheral roads. To reduce congestion in the Central Business District (CBD), a proposal to construct 12 arterial roads in the CBD signal-free has also been approved. I feel that road widening is not necessary at this stage."
The minister said that the widening of Tannery Road, Mallathalli and JP Nagar ring road had faced stiff resistance. In deference to the wishes of the public, he said that BBMP officials had been instructed to stop widening work immediately. "As for scrapping the entire project of widening roads, we will rethink and take a decision later," Ashok said.
Hosur Road, Lalbagh Road, Mysore Road, Cunningham Road and Queens Road, all major arterial roads, figure among the 72 city roads that were to be widened. The government had also approved Rs3,248 crore for the BBMP project of making 12 major corridors signal-free. The intention was to use grade separators at more than 100 junctions. About 1,122 km of road would thus become signal-free. These corridors would connect the CBD with the major outer ring road and radial roads.
Among major road development projects were: Bommanahalli zone, 44 arterial and sub-arterial roads of 147 km, at a cost of Rs862 crore; Rajarajeshwarinagar zone, 19 arterial and sub-arterial roads, 73 km in all, to be developed at a cost of Rs444 crore. At Mahadevepura, 15 arterial and sub-arterial roads, 108 km in length, were to be developed at a cost of Rs373 crore.
Among the prominent signal-free corridors planned: Dr Raj Road, from Yeswanthpur to Okalipuram junction, at a cost of Rs87 crore; Old Airport Road, Vellara junction to Kundahalli junction, at a cost of Rs170 crore; Outer Ring Road: Mysore Road to Hosur Road junction, at a cost of Rs157 crore.

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