Govt okays revised CMP with 88-km elevated corridor

Govt quietly okays revised CMP with 88-km elevated corridor

Credit: DH

Put on the back burner following widespread public opposition, the 88-km elevated corridor project has now found a backdoor entry through the Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) 2020, which has been approved by the state government. 

The draft plan published in October 2019 had attracted criticism from various sections of society as it included projects that were seen as "driven by contractors rather than what the city actually needs". 

Official sources claimed that the government had "considered" the opposition to several proposals in the draft CMP before approving it about two months ago. The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Authority (BMLTA) had cleared the CMP more than eight months ago, the source said. "All this was more of a formality. The government approval was a quiet affair." 

'A greenfield project' 

The 88-km corridor has been listed as a greenfield project to be constructed by public sector agencies. Activists and transport experts have been consistent in opposing the project, and urged the government to prioritise public transport within the available road space instead of building additional carriageway to boost the growth of vehicle population. 

The CMP 2020 states that the opinions of the stakeholders, including citizens, have been considered. "Almost 3500 comments/suggestions were received. Focus group meetings were also held with citizen and expert groups. All relevant comments, suggestions have been incorporated in final CMP appropriately," it stated. 

However, the government has not given details of the objections received or the deliberations on the same. 

"The entire exercise is an eyewash. The CMP itself is a document which seems to have been prepared in a hurry to meet the conditions set by the union government for getting funds for metro projects. The lack of its connection to the city's master plan is shocking. To top it all, there is no transparency in the entire process," an activist said. 

Apart from talking about the road network development, the CMP proposes improving public transport, building a 317-km metro network by 2031, BRTS, multi-modal mobility, inter-modal interchange hubs, push to non-motorised transport and a private transport management plan. 

On the positive note, the revised CMP has highlighted the need for increasing the number of buses needed to improve the BMTC's efficiency by increasing the bus fleet from the current 6,600 to 10,609 in 2021 and to 13,000 by 2025. The ambitious Bus Rapid Transport System on 107-km NICE Road and Peripheral Ring Road is also part of the CMP. 

The plan also recommends statutory powers to the BMLTA to function as a unified authority headed by the chief minister.