Tuesday, August 10, 2004

ORR ignores resident's safety

ORR mess: Residents’ safety gets no priority

According to the residents, the BDA is deliberately delaying the construction of the retaining walls for the service road

Bangalore Development Authority must have only heard of the honking of vehicles, which prompted it to form 62 km stretch of Outer Ring Road (ORR) around Bangalore. But it has apparently turned a deaf ear towards ensuring the safety of hundreds of residents along the busy road.

Even after 16 months since the formation of ORR, BDA has failed to construct retaining walls along an underbridge near Laggere and Nandini Layout IV stage, posing a great threat to residents. BDA has neither formed service road nor built retaining walls in this half-a-km stretch on either side. The bridges are built at a height of over 30 feet to ensure safe movement of pedestrians and vehicles on both sides of the ring road. But due to lack of retaining walls, the road has made the life of residents miserable.

In fact, these are the two areas where BDA has failed to construct retaining wall under the project. But it has built a retaining wall at a similar under bridge near Whitefield and Ramamurthynagar, as part of the project.

“Instances of children and senior citizens falling from atop these huge mounds of mud have been common. Recent rains have made the existing mud road (service road) slippery and unsafe for use, residents of Nandini Layout complained.

In Laggere, the problem is still worse as both Bangalore Metroplolitian Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses and private vehicles ply on the service road (near an under bridge), which does not have retaining wall on either side.

Residents alleged that BDA has deliberately held up construction of retaining wall as some residents refused to give up their land for the service road. “What stopped BDA from constructing retaining walls? If BDA had any problem with land acquisition, it is for service road and not for the construction of walls,” residents pointed out. Even as BDA claimed to have cleared all legal hurdles for acquiring private land, a part of the service road connected to ORR near the Nandhini Layout has been blocked by a private farm owner, who recently put up metal fencing right on the road. BDA has, however, not initiated any action to remove the fencing.

BDA sources said that the farm owner, who had initially given up his land, fenced the area when BDA failed to acquire land from his neighbours to lay the service road. As a result, the entire road that leads to the underbridge has been blocked.

The BDA also has failed to negotiate with the BMP to acquire a plot of land where the latter has built quarters for pourakarmikas. Unlike others, who were given alternate sites on giving away their lands, pourakarmikas are, inturn, demanding alternate houses in the same area.

When contacted, BDA Commissioner M N Vidyashankar said that BDA had a legal problem with regard to land acquisition in both places, besides getting permission from BMP to demolish pourakarmikas quarters to pave way for the service road. “Now all legal hurdles to acquire private land have been solved and tenders will soon be called to construct retaining walls wherever necessary,” he added.


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