Monday, January 29, 2007

Stick to the deadline, cry residents

Stick to the deadline, cry residents
Deccan Herald

Fear of displacement, invasion of privacy in residential localities, high dust and noise levels, traffic diversions forcing detour, disruption of bus services, slump in business. The list of inconveniences to the citizens reflects the flip side of development projects in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahangara Palike (BBMP).

However, citizens seem to be finally accepting change as inevitable. But the terms of acceptance definitely has a rider - ‘stick to the deadline’ - demand citizens enduring hardships even as the project is on.

While, most projects in the City have met with citizen protests, the resistance has died down with authorities incorporating many of the suggestions in the revised plans, as in case of the Malleswaram Grade Separator project. In some others, like the grade separator at the Gali Anjaneya temple junction, the authorities have managed to convince the aggrieved families by promising an attractive rehabilitation package.

Even as the BBMP has started work on at least five major projects to ease traffic bottlenecks in the City, more projects are on cards and are at different stages of approval.

Mathikere Railway Overbridge

A signal-free level crossing to give a safe passage to 2.17 lakh-odd vehicles plying on M S Ramiah Road in Mathikere, gave wings to the Mathikere-Gokula Railway Overbridge (ROB) project in December 2005. While, the project is now racing ahead after the initial delay in shifting utility lines, the residents are crying foul over the pathetic traffic situation.

“The people residing in Mathikere, BEL Circle, Lottegollahalli, Bandiappa Garden and Muthyalamma Nagar take the M S Ramiah Road to reach ring road. As the road is closed we are forced to commute on parallel roads that pass through Shankarnag railway gate or Muthyalamma gate, which have manual signalling. This is resulting in piling up of vehicles,” said S Venugopal, the gateman at Gokula gate.

The cost-sharing project of the BMP and the South Western Railway has left many citizens upset. Residents of Sundarnagar have demanded for mini bus service as the main road has been blocked and bus services disrupted.

Location: Mathikere-Gokula junction

Cost: Rs 14-crore

Deadline: November 2007 (Started in December 2005)

Malleswaram Grade Separator

Malleswaram Circle, one of the busiest junctions, will finally get some breathing space as the work on grade separator along the Maha Kavi Kuvempu Road has finally taken off. While the project has pushed a load of traffic on to the Link Road, the Margosa Road has reverted to the two-way rule.

Though the design of the grade separator had drawn criticism from residents and politicians alike, the design was modified to accommodate most of the suggestions like shifting of bus stops and rerouting buses during and after the project.

Says a traffic police at MKK Road, “Malleswaram will face least inconvenience during the project due to a good number of cross roads.

We have allowed two-way traffic on Margosa Road too, while the pile-up on Link Road has to be managed.”

Location: From KC General Hospital to Maha Kavi Kuvempu Road.

Cost: Rs 16.41 crore

Deadline: 10 months (Started in July 2006)

ITC Railway Overbridge

A railway overbridge on the Wheelers Road level crossing was conceived to rid the junction of traffic jams. The cost-sharing project of the BBMP and the SWR was opposed by residents as the traffic was diverted to Buddha Vihar Road, Kenchappa Road and Mosque Road.

Says Raju, a rickshaw driver, “The traffic on adjacent roads is unmanageable during peak hours as they are narrow. The Wheelers Road is the only approach road to new layouts - HRBR, HBR, OMBR, Ramamurthynagar and K R Puram and we take a detour via Banaswadi Road to reach the ITC side.”

Khalid Ahmed, a shopkeeper said, “The business has suffered a setback as the trees and electric poles are not cleared even after underground cables were laid. While, the residents are unable to walk along the entire stretch of Wheelers Road till ITC junction and beyond.”

Location: Gymkhana

Ground to ITC gate

Cost: Rs 15 crore (shifting utility services not included)

Deadline: November 2007 (Started in June 2006)

Gali Anjaneya grade separator

Where do we go? - ask residents of Kavika layout (Deepanjali Nagar), where the flyover work has just begun. At least, 10 houses fall within the project alignment and have been ‘told’ by the BBMP authorities to vacate the houses. However, no official intimation has come through. Meanwhile, trenches are being dug out and pillars erected close to the row of houses.

Says Chinnappa, a retired BHEL employee, “I have rented out a portion of my house, which is my only source of income. The BBMP asked us to vacate the house but never bothered to give us a notice. They marked the houses for demolition some two years ago. How can we vacate without them offering us any rehabilitation package? They have assured us sites nearby and also market price for the lost land,” he added.

Meanwhile, the shopkeepers in the area are apprehensive over the early completion of the project. “The work is slow and we only hope the project is not prolonged,” said Mahalingam, a STD booth owner.

Location: From Kavika layout 9th cross to Gali Anjaneya Temple junction

Cost: Rs 29 crore

Deadline: 15 months (started in Oct 2006)

Yeshwantpur Flyover

The Yeshwantpur police station is only a few feet away from the proposed Yeshwantpur Circle flyover alignment. While, the traffic department and citizens have collectively urged the BBMP to space out their projects in adjacent areas to avoid traffic bottlenecks, the BBMP has begun marking the alignment that runs right through the new police station compound. The citizens have urged the BMP to restrain from executing projects in nearby areas simultaneously as it will lead to traffic hassles.

“It is better if Malleswaram grade separator is completed before the one at Yeshwantpur is taken up,” said a traffic constable.

Location: Yeshwantpur circle

Cost: 18 crore

Deadline: Yet to take off


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