Saturday, June 30, 2007

Simply rail bidabedi, plan ahead too

Simply rail bidabedi, plan ahead too
Madhumitha B
Metro Rail is definitely Bangalores futuristic development project and most citizens believe its the need of the hour...

Metro Rail is definitely Bangalore’s futuristic development project and most citizens believe it’s the need of the hour. For those whose lives will remain undisturbed, it’s a dream project. Others feel the fast track will bring their lives closer to disruption.
Among the two corridors of the Metro Rail lines, the stretch covering Swastik, Maha Kavi Kuvempu (MKK) Road, West of Chord Road in Rajajinagar, Mahalakshmi Layout and Yeshwantpur will see 170 structures, including residential and commercial buildings, hospitals, educational institutions and public parks, being razed down to make way for the proposed project.
“This project is going to kill our business and destroy our lives. If the Metro Rail comes through as planned, we have to take our business elsewhere which threatens our survival. It’s not easy for any business to move beyond where their target customers live, it’s like starting from scratch, except that this time, there’s severe competition and surviving the rat race is not an easy one,” says Anand V Mailatur, president of the Residents and Traders Association, MKK Road.
Plan for future
But people clarify that this should not be misunderstood as being against the project. They only want an alternate solution. “First, if they can avoid bringing down so many structures, it will help many lives. There are several other ways for this project to come up here. Pillars to hold the tracks can be built on storm water drains. Underground project is another viable option. Also we have asked them to extend the rail upto Peenya Industrial Estate to optimise the purpose of public transport. Apart from thinking about immediate solutions, the authorities must also make provisions for future expansion, plan for the next 50 to 75 years when we will probably have to extend the Metro Rail to other areas, and allocate land. This way, it won’t be necessary to disrupt lives again,” says N L Narendra Babu, MLA and President of Rajajinagar Agenda Task Force (RATF).
Reiterating the importance of planning ahead, Balakrishna P who resides in an apartment near Harischandra Ghat, says, “Reserved road alignment for such a massive project should have been done earlier. Now, I have to give up my house. I am completely for this project but we have to think of our future as well. Justified compensation to each occupant must at least be thought of. In the case of my residential building, the notification was probably given to the owner of the building. This means compensation too, will be given to the owner and we aren’t sure how much we are entitled to.”
Sources at the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) say they are looking into proper compensation and rehabilitation of the citizens. “We sympathise with those who have to move out of their houses or give up their business centres. After careful research by PSS Thomas Committee, a professional valuing agency, we have come out with what we think is a reasonable replacement and rehabilitation package. We are also going to speak to owners and tenants to directly discuss their issues with us and hopefully it will yield positive results,” says V Madhu, MD, BMRCL.
“The BMRCL is offering compensation as per guidance value and not the existing market value. Recently BDA auctioned a small property for nearly Rs 9,500 per sq ft in 1st Block, Rajajinagar. So their offer of Rs 4,000 per sq ft comes no where close,” says D G Ashwathnarayana, a resident of Rajajinagar.
The occupants, however suggest the project go underground. “The authorities are paying Rs 4,000 per sq ft for every building they are bringing down which makes the total compensation a huge sum of money. This, they can invest in taking the project underground which will probably work out less than the total compensation package. They can also space out the stations which means occupying lesser structures including the Devaiah Park (also known as Gayatri Devi Park) that is the lung space for that area. The CM has promised to look into the matter but maybe he is being misinformed about the entire issue by the officials which is why he hasn’t done anything so far,” says Anand.
Work on the Metro Rail has begun. But like every major infrastructure project, there are stories of people affected by it. Metrolife brings to you a series of articles highlighting views of people affected by it and how they intend to cope with it. This is the concluding part of the series.
The North-South corridor which extends from Yeshwantpur through MKK Road, Rajajinagar, West of Chord Road and Malleswaram.
Area covered: 14.9 kms
Structures required to be brought down:
*Swastik station — 15
*MKK Main Road — 16
*Kuvempu Road Station (eastern side) — 73;
*Gayatri Devi Park station (eastern side) — 17
*Western side — 23
*Chord Road — 7
*Rajajinagar station — 8
*Mahalakshmi Layout (near Iskcon) — 9
*Soap factory — 7
Families affected: 1,500
Suggestions by people:
* Underground plan at high density business areas.
* More distance between stations bringing down lesser buildings.
* Compensation package as per existing market value.
* Extend upto Peenya to benefit employees of the industrial area.
* Involve public in the project by making them stakeholders. This also reduces the burden for the government on loan repayment taken from foreign institutions.
* Make provisions on highways and other roads for further expansion plans.


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