Monday, June 07, 2010

This road waits for a coat of tar

This road waits for a coat of tar
Residents Pay Up Rs 35 Lakh, But 100-M Stretch Is In Dispute
Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: Even before the BBMP elections, almost all interior roads in Whitefield and surrounding parts of Mahadevapura were given a fresh coat of asphalt, but for a 100-m stretch of road. It is part of a 1.4-km road that connects Whitefield Main Road to Borewell Road at Ramgondanahalli, via R Narayanapura village.
This road, taken up as a PPP (Public-Private Partnership) project, involves local residents and the BBMP. Today, it’s a smooth stretch of tar, but for the 100 metres bang at the entrance from Whitefield main road.
The worst-hit by this are 350 residents in posh apartment complexes in the interiors here. After waiting for three years and paying up Rs 35 lakh as their share to asphalt the road on a 50-50 partnership with BBMP, they are still bumping along to their destinations.
A majority of them had invested in houses here way back in 2006, and were assured by their builders and developers that the government would lay the road in just three months. Now, they are given up on this last stretch of road.
The sum of Rs 35 lakh was contributed by five resident welfare associations to asphalt their share of 700 m, 600 m of which is complete.
What worries them is that the monsoon is here. “Earlier the entire road was bad, now it’s the crude entry point. Our kids face a problem as school buses refuse to take the road because of this. Something must be done,’’ said Sreepad Gopalarao, a resident who is also an active member spearheading the PPP project.
More worrying is the slow processing of files. “Tracking the file for the 100-m stretch has taken us places and tested our patience. We are not just complaining, we are also paying for the road, in addition to property tax,’’ said another resident.
DISPUTED STRETCH
There is more to this pending 100-m stretch than just dillydallying authorities. Part of ancestral property, this piece of land is owned by a family of five brothers. “This is part of our last one-acre plot and we cannot let it go. We once had seven acres here,’’ said Ponnuswamy M, one of the brothers.
Interestingly, this crude stretch was once a cart track for his family to access the villages in the interiors. But with time, it changed into a public road. According to other residents here, the builders had earlier failed to strike a deal to get the road done, as the money they shelled out was divided among the middlemen and some political leaders. This family then filed a civil case against the builders, which had no effect whatsoever.
The current status of the land: the acquisition file is with the urban development office, awaiting a chain of approvals there.
Meanwhile, BBMP joint commissioner (Mahadevapura) B Heeranayak confirmed: “It will take at least another three months to settle the acquisition. There are no legal hurdles here, but the road work will be completed only after acquisition is complete. It can be sorted out within a month if the land owners agree to a TDR settlement. The public has been cooperative in funding and joining hands to asphalt the road, but we had informed them about this pending acquisition even when the project began.”

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