Friday, January 22, 2010

How do people live here, Mr CM?

How do people live here, Mr CM?
Governor H R Bhardwaj, who had recently flayed government's flood relief measures, on Thursday expressed displeasure with traffic congestion and slow pace of infrastructure projects in Bangalore BM takes a look at the issues that raised the governor’s hackles

B S Yeddyurappa with H R Bhardwaj

How do his guests deal with traffic?
Bangalore may boast of many infrastructure projects, but many are just grandiose plans grounded by poor planning. The flyover to Electronics City may be ready, but driving till the flyover is nothing short of a Herculean task. Many techies who have to report to work at 9 am leave home as early as 6 am to reach office on time. They spend a good part of the working day on the road.
The roads mean to ease traffic, like the Intermediate Ring Road connecting Domlur, Indiranagar and Old Madras Road in east Bangalore is already choked due to the increase in traffic by the time the projects were implemented.
The Silk Board junction is a nightmare that is yet to be solved. The recent addition of the Hosur Expressway has raised a lot of hope, but the problem of traffic joining the main roads from arterial ones is yet to be addressed.
The BBMP had promised some signal-free junctions, but the project is still on paper.

what about half-completed projects?
Many projects are way past their deadlines. For example the Kadirenahalli Underpass (March 2009), Puttenhalli Underpass (March 2009), railway overbridge at Whitefield (March 2008) and the Agara–Iblur junction flyover (March 2010).
Delay in projects means more hardship for citizens and commuters who have to put up with disruption in civic amenities, dug up and damaged roads, slow traffic, increased pollution and health problems. Often, vehicles are diverted to service roads that are unable to handle the increase in traffic.
Citizens have accepted these problems as a necessary evil, but incessant delays are testing their patience. They have just one question in their minds — When will it all end?
To compound matters, several projects are going on simultaneously, which means very few parts of the city are free from construction activity and related problems.
Take the case of the ambitious Outer Ring Road, which has been under construction for the last quarter of a century, and is yet to be completed!
Plus, there are plans that are yet to see the light of the day, like the Periperal Ring Road project announced by S M Krishna when he was the CM. Since then, Krishna served as governor of Maharashtra and is now a Union minister while BDA is yet to even finalise tenders for the project!

how to explain uneven development?
You don’t really have to go to the bylanes of Bangalore to get a glimpse of how bad bitumen is in the city. Just drive in front of Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the governor, to know the story. The main road in front of the Raj Bhavan is marked with series of potholes. It’s been several days since the road was dug up for laying a pipeline, but no one seems to have thought of repairing it. is it any wonder that the governor is complaining.
The GPO Circle that connects Bangalore Cantonment with the power centre (Vidhana Soudha) is interspersed with parts that were dug up and never filled.
Whitefield is where all the new IT companies are coming up, but drive through Prashant Layout near the International Tech Park Bangalore (IPTB) and you will come across a combination of mud roads and tarred bitumen. After repeated complaints to the BBMP yielding no result, residents have given up.

city says...

This has been the case for many years now.We cannot blame anyone in particular for these problems. The city cannot handle so many people. It is time we, the public, put our heads together and come out with solutions. People should take the initiative to not take their car once in a week and use buses instead
Hema Malini Maiya,
partner, MTR restaurant

What the governor said is true. Pace of infrastructure projects is very slow. In the past three years, I have seen an improvement, but projects need to be speeded up. Projects must be time-bound
K K Narayanan,
Managing Director, Metahelix Life Sciences

Planning in our city is incoherent. The BBMP has always thought in terms of numbers rather than outcome planning. It does not have a town planning department.We should focus on incentive-based public transport promotion planning wherein the people with their own vehicles will be motivated to use public transport
R K Misra,


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