Thursday, August 19, 2010

Residents have the right to know what the civic body is planning to do

Residents have the right to know what the civic body is planning to do

G Govardhan



A subject like road widening cannot be viewed in isolation as it is linked to issues like environment, traffic problems, and the impact it will have on residents living along a stretch.
Of these, what concerns everybody most is the pain involved in the process. Many people will be displaced from an area where they have lived for generations. Where will they go if their property is lost to the widening plan? Many trees will also come under the axe. But cutting trees should be the last resort. That is why we have been creating awareness among the youth. Everyone should be concerned about green cover.
If at all the BBMP is going ahead with its plan of widening the roads as a solution to the city's traffic congestion, they should make sure that alternative roads are cleaned up and made smooth for traffic movement. They usually don't bother about this, resulting in bottlenecks and too much inconvenience to the public.
What the civic authorities need is proper planning. If that is taken care of, people may come forward and support the project. They should also give proper information about what they are going to do. People need answers to questions like how much land will be taken away for widening, how much of their property will be affected, how is the TDR going to work and where else they will be given alternative land for building homes or businesses. Public should not be kept in the dark as it will create fear psychosis in them.
And much before the widening plan is finalised, the BBMP must seek their views and suggestions, study them and revise their originalplans if need be.
The project should be time-bound. One of the first roads that had been identified for widening is Hosur Road. Here the work is done in patches. This should not happen to other roads. Work has to be done in a systematic way. To meet deadlines, all permissions have to be taken before the beginning of the work.
Ground realities should be considered. The project should not run into controversies that are likely to stall the work.
A particular stretch has to be done completely before moving on to the next. While moving, workers should not leave behind debris and create problems for pedestrians. Often, such debris leads to accidents. Citizens should file a complaint if any such mishaps occur to them.
For instance, when a road is being tarred, the inspection is not as efficient as it should be. It is not that the agency involved in the work does not have enough people. There are inspectors, ward supervisors, assistant engineers, assistant executive engineers, and junior engineers. And it is not that they don't know the procedure. They know everything but still don't do it.
We cannot ignore the role of citizens in tackling traffic woes. Most of them are educated and should follow traffic rules while driving or walking through the streets.

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