Friday, August 13, 2010

Road widening is here to stay

Road widening is here to stay
Ashoka Promises Resurvey Of Areas Where Tenders Have Not Yet Been Awarded
Sunitha Rao | TNN

Bangalore: In a virtual snub to mayor S K Nataraj, Bangalore development minister R Ashoka made it clear there’s no question of withdrawing the road-widening project completely.
Last week, the mayor announced that road widening would be shelved, specially in core areas. His statement threw everyone into a tizzy as the project had already commenced in several areas.
“There’ll be no stopping roadwidening work wherever it has begun. Also, roads where tenders have been awarded will not come under resurvey. All other roads will be revisited and resurveyed,” R Ashoka told TOI on Thursday.
Ashoka clarified several aspects of the issue which has confused not only Bangaloreans but also officials monitoring the project:

• Ring Road will not be widened: Owners of properties on either side of the ring road connecting Mysore Road and Madiwala can heave a sigh of relief, as road widening there has been dropped. “Our objective is to ease the traffic. If it can be achieved by constructing underpasses and flyovers where there is traffic congestion, we will not go ahead with widening. One example is Ring Road from Madiwala to Mysore road where the road is already 100 ft wide. If required, underpasses or flyovers can be built. There are many similar roads — we need to find such roads and therefore a resurvey will be conducted. Getting cabinet approval for resurvey is not a big task. It’ll be discussed in the next cabinet meeting,” he said.

• Road widening is not to encourage movement of private vehicles. “To make way for public transport, we’re widening roads, including the 216 roads where BMTC and other buses ply. In some interior roads, the width keeps varying and that leads to bottleneck at many junctions. For example, the width of Dasarahalli Main Road varies between 20 ft and 80 feet in a stretch of 500 metres. Flyovers cannot be build on such stretches and road widening is the only solution.”
A technical committee comprising transportation experts, Bangalore incharge ministers, mayor, Bangalore traffic police, BMTC, BBMP and BDA officials will be formed to conduct the resurvey.
Ashoka admitted that the present system of compensation of Transferable Development Rights (TDR) given as compensation for land acquisition is not effective. “We have plans to create a TDR bank that escalates its value. On either side of the Metro rail corridor, Floor Area Ratio (FAR) will be increased which will make TDR more effective. We are confidant that public will support this move,” Ashoka said.
The government plans to compensate property losers with BDA sites, but not free of cost. “I’ve written letters to the chief minister on this. BDA has been allotting sites at subsidized rates. Those who lose a large portion of their property can apply to the BDA and they would not be any waiting period for them,” Ashoka added.
The government is clearly fuming over the mayor’s announcement that the project will be shelved and that the red markings will be erased. “That created all the confusion. BBMP officials have made efforts to find out the properties and the exact portion of the properties to be acquired. The mayor did not consult officials before making the announcement,’’ official sources said.
Why are you targeting us (BJP)? This project was conceived when the Congress was in power. It was approved by the JD(S) government without much discussion. But we’re bearing the brunt of public fury. We want to do road widening scientifically. The public must cooperate. This was nothing but unscientific identification of roads to be widened, and that’s why we’re doing a resurvey,” he added.


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