Monday, July 31, 2006

BMP forcibly rams underpass down Malleswaram's throat

Malleswaram underpass work starts
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: On Sunday morning, the residents and shopkeepers of Malleswaram 5th Cross, had a shock when they saw local MLA N Seetharam performing ‘bhoomi pooja’ for the underpass.

Even after repeated assurances from the policy makers to halt the project, which according to residents is ‘not at all necessary’, Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) quietly moved ahead with digging work near Geetanjali theatre.

An year ago, the BMP had planned an underpass between Malleswaram 5th Cross to Link Road. But the locals are opposing it ever since it was planned.

Recently, Malleswaram residents and shop owners even observed bandh. Memorandums were also submitted to Chief Minister and concerned authorities opposing the project.

“But, all in vain,’’ says N Venkatesh, member of Malleswaram Swabhimana Initiative. ‘‘We have been running from pillar to post against the project since it has more demerits than benefits,’’ he said.

“The design of the underpass is unscientific. As per the specifications of Indian National Road Congress, the width of any four-lane underpass should be 120 feet. But, here at the entry at K C General Hospital the road width is only 80 feet. Moreover, after the pass, one has to take a sharp turn at the Link Road, where the present road width is only 30 feet,’’ Venkatesh added.

However, the BMP Commissioner K Jairaj clarified that the project was taken up after thorough research and work would be continued.

About the opposition from the residents for the project, he said: ‘‘I have told the residents to consult the Chief Engineer and sort out the problems. The project is required and would be completed soon.’’

The proposed underpass also poses threat of making Margosa road a dead end. The traffic will be then diverted through 4th main, which has many schools and residences once the underpass is operational. Since the entrance of K C General Hospital will be blocked, people will have to reach hospital by smaller service road. Pedestrians too have to suffer as only five feet wide footpath will be provided on the either side of the underpass.

The new underpass will also cause dent in the green cover of Malleswaram. About 91 trees will be uprooted to accommodate the new underpass.

‘‘Most of the trees are fully grown and uprooting them would cause a adverse effect on environment,’’ said Rohan D’Souza, member of ‘Hasiru Usiru’ which conducted the survey on the project.


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