Saturday, November 21, 2009

Paper on satellite towns aims to change face of city outskirts

Paper on satellite towns aims to change face of city outskirts

But Bangalore Metropolitan Regional Development Authority says instead of remaining on paper, such projects should be effectively implemented to develop the outskirts which will help in decongesting the city centre. Bosky Khanna reports

Bosky Khanna

While the state government, corporation and ABIDe members are focusing on development and upgradation of the city centre, its outskirts remain ignored.
To ensure that city outskirts are adequately developed with all facilities and proposed township projects are not shelved, a concept paper on satellite towns is being created. Speaking to DNA, Agenda for Bangalore Infrastructure and Development (ABIDe) task force member Ashwin Mahesh said this report would be ready within 15 days.
The report would explain why there were failures or delays in the commencement of the proposed townships. It would also list possible solutions for surmounting them.
"It will comprise of strategies of developing townships based on what is present, what are the strengths of the area and enhance them through adequate development. Townships should first leverage people's needs. Thus, in principle, we have first chosen to create and improve social infrastructure by helping to set up schools, universities, educational institutions, and hospitals. A need for people to reside will be created and then parallel townships will be created," he said.
But the Bangalore Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (BMRDA) sources said developing and upgrading local planning areas and connectivity projects was only on paper and their meetings with ABIDe had not proved effective.
The state government, on May 28, had approved BMRDA's interim master plan for developing Anekal, Hoskotte, Magadi, Kanakapura and Nelamanagala area. The plan aims to develop 4000 sq km area around BBMP zones. In 1999, BMRDA had proposed to construct a 204-km satellite town ring road (STRR) and a 130-km intermediate ring road (IRR). This was approved in 2007, with the aim of decongesting traffic on the existing ring roads thereby making commuting faster and easier.
"We are a part of ABIDe and are present at all meetings. But none of our proposed projects are implemented. They merely remain on paper. ABIDe members are focusing on decongesting the city centre, but have forgotten that this would be effective when city outskirts are developed," Mahesh said.
At the conceptual level, developing towns and areas with all facilities is a good idea, as it was proposed. But the fundamental problem is how to crack it for investment and make it worthwhile. Thus, it is important first to create social infrastructure and then develop the area for residential purposes. Through the concept paper, ABIDe is now working in this direction to complete the projects.
The reason why townships are not being developed is due to lack of commercial interest from private players. This is one of the reasons why Bidadi project is yet to take off.
Plan Bengaluru 2020 for road, traffic management and transportation issued by ABIDe on January 1 says that STRR, when developed, should be signal-free and junction-free, for inter-township connectivity and for bypass. Similarly, IRR should also be signal-free, junction-free (one half or two half depending on agreement with NICE on eight-lane and toll).
"Of the two, only STRR would be retained. Connectivity between nearby towns has to be established using existing direct road linkage between them rather than a full IRR. Since STRR and IRR in most places will run parallel, there is no need for both. Connectivity to the existing towns like Magadi can be enhanced by making the existing roads four lanes wide and signal-free with dividers," Mahesh said.


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