Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Mayor for realignment of road-widening project

Mayor for realignment of road-widening project

Staff Reporter
Jagjivan Ram Nagar residents say the project will affect places of worship

Anxious moments:Mayor S.K. Nataraj was mobbed by residents when he came to discuss road-widening at Jagjivan Ram Nagar in Bangalore on Tuesday.
Bangalore: The mood was festive, almost. Schoolchildren lined the streets while the entire 1.8-km stretch from Jagjivan Ram Nagar Junction to Vijayanagar Pipe Line Junction was cordoned off. Thousands of people gathered in the streets eagerly awaiting the arrival of Mayor S.K. Nataraj and MLA Zameer Ahmed Khan.

The Mayor visited the thickly populated area on Tuesday to review the road-widening proposal. Residents of the area claimed that the proposed widening would eat into the old prayer house (mosque), a church and a temple. They told the MLA and Mayor that the road-widening proposal could be realigned so that the places of worship remain untouched.

Currently, the nine-metre wide road sees a lot of traffic. Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials claimed that road-widening was inevitable. As per the proposal, the two-lane road would be widened to a four-lane one. Over 200 properties had been identified, they said.

Speaking to presspersons later, Mr. Nataraj said that he had discussed the issue with the BBMP officials and directed them to take up realignment of the road-widening proposal. “The road-widening can be taken up on the left side of the road, which is government property. Also on the left side are the police quarters, which I am told, is currently vacant. We will widen the road as much as possible without inconveniencing the people,” he said.

He also said that BBMP was making efforts to conserve heritage buildings, wherever possible. “However in some places, like the one in 8 {+t} {+h} block in Shakambari Nagar, a temple had to be demolished to make way for road-widening,” he added.

Mr. Khan urged the Mayor to direct the officials to look at alternatives. “Fortunately, we can still take up road-widening on the left side, without affecting the people,” he said.

Angry mobs

Even the heavy police security could not control the thousands of people who had gathered in the streets. There were a few anxious moments when the mob got unruly. A few local leaders formed a protective cordon around the MLA and the Mayor. During the chaos, a photo journalist who took photographs of weapons found in a four-wheeler was reportedly threatened to delete them. The police arrested six persons during the pandemonium. Police used their canes to disperse the crowd.

Supporters of the councillors Radhakrishna from Rayapuram and Seema Khanam from J.J.R. Nagar had a minor disagreement. The supporters of Ms. Khanam, led by her husband Altaf Pasha, wanted Mayor to visit their ward.

In the melee, the supporters threw bouquets that they had brought to invite the Mayor in the air.

Mr. Khan said, “We had already intimated them about Mayor's visit. Information has also been conveyed to the police.”


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