Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Just 400 metres stopping it

Just 400 metres stopping it

The Times of India

Off Bannerghatta Road: As you drive along Kanakapura Road on the BMIC peripheral Ring Road towards Bannerghatta Road, you hit a deadend. The sixlane access-controlled super highway ends abruptly. And you stare at the compound wall of a farm.
The lush green fields overlook a lake, which are half-dried and full of weeds and hyacinth. And cattle enjoy a bath in the lake! This is the Gottigere lake which has put brakes on the BMIC project.
The 42-km corridor which connects Tumkur-Magadi-Mysore-Kanakapura-Bannerghatta Road to Hosur Road does not proceed beyond Bannerghatta Road. A mere 400-metre stretch has dogged the BMIC project in Gottigere. The issue: whether the road should go over the lake or around it.
The project gains all the more importance for commuters to Electronic City (EC) as the Hosur Road Elevated Road project work is slowing down traffic. Recently, 38,000 techies working at the EC signed an appeal and filed a PIL in the Supreme Court requesting for

speedy completion of the project. They say more than half of the commuters to EC will avoid Hosur Road and use NICE Road to reach EC. Also, truckers who constitute a major chunk of the vehicle population, can use the BMICP Road as a bypass to reach Hosur Road.
This 50-acre lake was once a fresh water pond which was rain-fed. Thanks to rapid urbanisation and mushrooming of illegal apartments and layouts near Bannerghatta Road, this lake is being used to let out sewage and other effluents. Hence, the lake has very little fresh water in it.
Since the road is in a limbo, commuters have found an alternative road: hundreds of commuters brave a small, meandering, muddy 15-20-metre stretch near the lake. This path meanders through the tank bund and some farms and touches the BMIC’s Hosur Road.
Says Sujith Kumar, an EC commuter from Basaveshwaranagar: “I work in Infosys. Earlier, I used to take two hours to reach EC via Madiwala. Now, I discovered the NICE Road. I take 50 minutes. Except this muddy stretch, it’s a silk route. The access-controlled BMICP Road gives me a non-stop ride. It is high time
the government supported this project.’’
The villagers, residents of a private residential enclave, businessmen and shopkeepers want the road to be completed as much as the project-implementing company.
Deepali Shankar, a resident of a private enclave in Gottigere says: “I wonder how powerful these guys must be to have stopped the completion of just 400 metres. I hope the court orders in favour of the road project.’’
According to Gottigere gram panchayat
member and past president G K Ravi, who is actively involved in the matter, the HC order states that NICE should build the road on stilts over the lake. It is contempt of court that it is being built around the lake, he said. “They are trying to save a farm and by doing so they are making the road take a sharp turn. This will prove dangerous as commuters ride on this road at top speed.’’ HC gets 2 months to settle issue TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Bangalore: The Supreme Court on Tuesday transferred the Gottigere lake issue, which has stalled the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project, to Karnataka High Court.
Justices S B Sinha and Markendeyu Katju directed the high court to hear, resolve and issue the decision within two months without giving scope for adjournments.
This ruling sets aside the high court order of April 2006. The order said the road be laid across the lake in a straight line by constructing pillars bisecting the lake. Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE), executing the project, had opposed it and secured a stay in the Supreme Court.
The Electronic City Industries Association had sought the apex court’s intervention to throw open the peripheral road connecting Hosur Road to Mysore Road and onward connectivity to the Tumkur Road stretch. The high court, while dismissing the state government’s plea on June 16, 1999, had said: “The respondents (NICE) are directed not to lay any road bisecting the Gottigere lake preventing or disturbing the inflow of water into the tank.’’
The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) on July 24, 1999, approved construction of a road bridge across the tank. However, NICE rejected the suggestion to put pillars in the lake. Instead, it preferred to take an alignment to protect the water body.
Lake controversy dates back to 1999, when environmentalist Suresh Heblikar filed a PIL on the road proposal. He contended that lake would be killed if road is built over the lake.
However, HC ordered road may be built on stilts without disturbing lake’s water
flow. Since there was opposition, NICE changed alignment and proposed to take it around lake.
Those influential in government and a private developer whose enclave comes in the path of new alignment, prompted Gottigere gram panchayat to file a petition in high court against new alignment - now stating that earlier alignment was preferred.

Panchayat stated that if road is taken around lake, flow of water into the lake will be affected.
NICE too submitted a proposal to enhance flow of water into lake by replacing one inlet pipe with eight. While NICE swears it will not touch the lake and will take all possible measures to protect its ecology, village panchayat wants road to be built on lake.


At Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 4:21:00 PM GMT+5:30, Blogger iTrash said...

In one of your interesting posts [] was mentioned how some old lakes and tanks were wiped out with the construction and building up of bangalore...

As a new bangalorean i always used to wonder, how when the region around bangalore has so many water bodies, how come the main city area have so few..
Lets just hope one more water body doesn't get killed in the confusion and controversy and may the best be done for the protection of the lake..

As a concerned citizen i would like to join any movements for the conservation of ecology and hope lots of other concerned Bangaloreans would too...

At Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 4:45:00 PM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Nice Blog. Do visit my blog too.


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