BDA to hold PRR public hearing on September 3

BDA to hold PRR public hearing on Sept 3, activists call it a ‘sham’

The PRR project has been mired in controversies ever since it was conceived in 2005. This file picture shows a protest by farmers set to lose their land to the project. DH PHOTO/Janardhan B K

Civic activists have asked the BDA to provide documents of the Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) project before holding a public hearing on its environmental impact assessment (EIA). 

Activists have been riled by the BDA’s decision to hold a video conference on Zoom on September 3 to “receive public comments and suggestions” on the draft EIA report. On August 18, the BDA held a public hearing in spite of the forest minister instructing the officials to postpone it. 

The 65.5-km PRR has been proposed to connect Tumakuru Road with Hosur Road via Ballari Road and Old Madras Road, making a semi-circle around Bengaluru. The BDA says the project will ease traffic congestion but activists accuse it of “hiding” crucial details about the PRR’s environmental impact. 

Activists noted that the Zoom meeting was a “sham” as people do not have access to the crucial information on the project. They asked the BDA to disclose documents such as the detailed project report (DPR) of the PRR before holding the meeting. They also said that going ahead with a public hearing without providing the documents was a “violation” of people’s rights. 

“We find it irreconcilable that a public consultation can be scheduled without the public availability of the detailed project report (DPR). How is the public expected to give feedback when no plan has been shared,” Tara Krishnaswamy, of the Citizens for Bengaluru, wondered. 

CfB members have written to BDA Commissioner H R Mahadev, demanding information on the alignment of the road, the traffic analysis and forecasts that led to the planning of PRR. 

“A project with such massive infrastructure, social, economic and environmental impact needs to be reviewed with diligence,” the letter said, noting that the DPR, which is the basis of the new EIA report, has still not been placed in the public domain. 

The new EIA report was prepared as per NGT directions and was upheld by the Supreme Court. Courts previously censured the BDA for giving false information in the previous report. However, details of the alignment have remained a mystery.