Monday, July 05, 2010

Few gains, maximum damage

Few gains, maximum damage

Residents eagerly await tomorrow's HC hearing on GKVK Road



Every issue is going beyond the reach of citizens though they are being implemented in the public interest. And the green cover has become the biggest casualty of a shapeless agenda of development, especially the roads.
A look at GKVK Road will show the contrast, minimum gain and maximum destruction. According to the officials, the road will save a commuting distance of 10 km. The collateral damage is immense loss of plant wealth that is hard to quantify.
A ride on the newly constructed yet to be opened GKVK Road that connects to MS Palya abruptly ends near Canara Bank Colony. One can see the demarcated walls on both sides – on one side the campus and on the other side, several layouts.
As the case comes up for hearing tomorrow (July 6), concerned residents and factions of the university wait with bated breath. The judgment will decide the fate of not just the road but people on both sides as well as areas it 'promises' to connect.
On April 9 last year, students and faculty members of the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS)protested. This was to be the first of a series of protests the 'proposed road construction' was to trigger. The protests were against the BBMP's 'forceful encroachment' on the university's land.
Later, when the land was transferred to BBMP, the focus turned to the usefulness of the road. The built road has been seen as an interconnecting one by BBMP officials who point out that it would connect MS Palaya Road to NH7 and thereby the airport road.
Back then, speaking to DNA, Virupaksha Mysore, joint commissioner, BBMP, Byatarayanapura, had said that MS Palaya-NH7 link road would reduce travel distance, saving commuters a distance of 10km.
However, the protesting members from UAS had disagreed. "This road is unnecessary, it will only increase the distance to reach the airport or NH7," they said.
In fact, the road abruptly ends at the campus. The long stretch now enters the residential area of Canara Bank Colony. Residents joined the protest later. They felt that a link road through the colony could jeopardise the safety of its elders and children, apart from becoming a thoroughfare road.
Describing the connecting roads, Virupaksha had said that MS Palaya Road would connect Vidyaranyapura to Thindlu to Canara Bank Layout to Sahakaranagar to Bytranpura and finally connect to NH7 and the airport road.
It is to be noted that while the authorities claimed that the link road was the answer to the connectivity issue of commuters from Attur area, the road is not a short route. There is an existing road that starts from Attur, passes Sandeep Unnikrishnan Road through Yelahanka and meets at the Kogilu junction that runs a distance of 6km approximately. The newly constructed road, on the other hand, starts from Attur, passes through the GKVK campus to Kogilu junction and is about 12km.
In fact, several residents are divided over the issue. One angry youth said, "We need the trees as well as the road. What is the use of protesting when the trees are all gone?"
Many felt that better bus connectivity could solve the problem. However, they maintained a dejected tone. With enough damage done, they do not know whether the road should be used. Another issue is link roads on the long stretch. Interestingly, there are links that would eventually, in the long run, connect this main GKVK Road to residential layouts.
However, many such link entry points are facing a wall. The demarcation is clear: people in residential areas do not want traffic spilling into their layouts. c_vaishalli@dnaindia.netcivic champions: Writer UR Ananthamurthy, freedom fighter HS Doreswamy and justice MF Saldanha at the Save Bangalore Committee Citizens' Convention on Road Widening held on Sunday. Citizens are shocked by the way civic officials are going ahead with their plans without consulting them

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