Saturday, October 17, 2009

Metro is not a solution to city's perennial woes

Metro is not a solution to city's perennial woes

Sunitha Rao R

The proposed Metro work in front of Vidhana Soudha has raised concerns about the safety of the assembly building and other heritage structures in the vicinity. Sathya Prakash Varanashi, convenor of the Bangalore chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), a body that works to safeguard heritage structures, tells Sunitha Rao R that Metro will spark growth, but that is not a good prospect.

What necessary steps should be taken to protect heritage structures, such as Vidhana Soudha, and Tipu's palace, while coming up with projects like those planned by the BMRCL?
First of all, there should have been a 'mediated decision-making process'. But there was no such process while planning the Metro work. There were no adequate public hearings. They (the BMRCL) may have made an announcement about the project, but not every Bangalore citizen is aware of it. A politician goes to each street of his constituency to ask for votes during election, but when it comes to big projects like the Metro, there is not much effort made to reach out to the public with necessary information. In Bangalore, the Metro could have been completely underground, like in Kolkata, London and other cities. This would have ensured that the city's rich look is not tarnished.
Do you foresee any post-operation problems for the city because of the Metro?
Micro vibrations from the Metro rail network will affect the heritage buildings in the city. There are also concerns about street scarp, as the rich look of MG Road, the most famous street in the city, will be lost to the Metro.
The question is: why is so much attention being given to the development of Bangalore and not to any other city? The answer is that there is visibility and economic growth here. And also corruption. But nobody is forecasting the growth rate of the city. There is no doubt that the city will grow rapidly once the Metro becomes operational. But that is not a good prospect. Metro may solve certain problems of the city, but it will end up creating many other problems for urban development. Metro is only a convenience, not a solution.

BMRCL is using the controlled-blast technology which ensures there is no sound or vibration. Does this mean the heritage structures will not be affected?
The BMRCL's report claims that the Metro is safe for the structures. But once the Metro starts functioning, how can we save lives and monuments if a bomb is planted in the tunnel? There are many such risks associated with the Metro.
When iron-ore mining was started in Kudremukh, there were protests saying it will gradually destroy the ecology and the green heritage of the region. Now, that fear has turned out to be valid. Kudremukh's natural vegetation is depleting because of iron-ore mining.


At Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 11:14:00 PM GMT+5:30, Blogger bangaloremysore said...

Foolish report. BMRC had posted Metro map way back in 2007, what these organizations were doing at that time? Now at the nth moment, they are commenting foolish. BMRC cannot goto each and every individual and say Metro goes here, do you have any objection??? Thank god, they didn't say after the first train ran. Media wants to fill their sheets with these foolish comments and mislead people.


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