Jayamahal Road widening to claim 100 trees

Officials from the BBMP said the work, estimated to cost Rs 52.34 crore, involves widening two stretches of road from Jayamahal Palace Hotel to Mehkri Circle and from BDA Junction-Mehkri Circle to a standard width of 45 metres.

More than 100 trees will have to make way for widening Jayamahal Road and Ballari Road, with the BBMP inviting bids for the work to widen the roads to accommodate the pillars for the elevated corridor.

Officials from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) said the work, estimated to cost Rs 52.34 crore, involves widening two stretches of road from Jayamahal Palace Hotel to Mehkri Circle and from BDA Junction-Mehkri Circle to a standard width of 45 metres. The project involves cutting of 112 trees, according to a previous proposal.

"The present width of the road varies from 25 to 30 metres at various stretches. The idea is to bring in a standard 45-metre-wide road, whose median can support the proposed elevated corridor. The tender process may take two months, following which work on widening the road will be completed in nine months," a senior official said. 

To a question, the official noted that the B S Yediyurappa-led government had cancelled a tender for the elevated corridor but not the project itself.

Deputy Conservator of Forests, BBMP, M K Cholarajappa said they have received the proposal for the project. "We are yet to conduct a tree survey following which the exact number of trees will be known," he added.

Though the project to widen Jayamahal Road dates back to 2009, the government gave it a momentum when it proposed the steel flyover in 2016. The opposition to the flyover, which involved felling of 852 trees, saw more than a thousand activists forming a human chain and throwing a protective ring around the trees, some of which are older than 50 years. 

The project had also run into a controversy due to the government’s plan to award transferable development rights to the erstwhile royal family in exchange for acquiring land along Jayamahal Road. 

Srinivas Alavilli of Citizens for Bengaluru, which spearheaded the protests against the steel flyover, said the government needs to declare a holiday for all flyover constructions. "The science tells us that widening of roads and building flyovers will only shift traffic congestion from one point to another. The government should focus its energy and resources on suburban rail, Metro and bus lanes," he said.

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