New wine in old bottle: citizens on steel flyover row

EFFORT WASTED? Citizens had vociferously protested the steel flyover project, forcing the government to shelve it. Tuesday’s announcement has shocked them. DH FILE PHOTO

The power of people’s voice in the city had got a new lease of life in early 2017, when the previous state government decided to scrap the ambitious steel flyover project.

However, Deputy Chief Minister and Bangalore Development Minister G Parameshwara’s statement on Tuesday about reviving the project has drawn the ire of citizen activists. ‘Anti-development’, ‘masochistic’ and ‘not again’, were the first few citizens’ reactions after they came to know of Parameshwara’s statement.

“Do they think people have short memories? We have fought a battle not only on the streets, but legally as well. They are playing with the children of tomorrow. They do not have a vision to solve the mobility issues of the city,” said Srinivas Alavilli, co-founder of Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB). 

“We have been suggesting alternate solutions such as sub-urban rail, doubling the number of BMTC buses and improving pedestrian access across the city, but, not a single suggestion has been implemented by the government,” he further said.

“This is like serving new wine in an old bottle,” said Tara Krishnaswamy, co-founder of CfB. “I was listening to his (Parameshwara’s) words and he said that by building this flyover, it will reduce the traffic woes of 1% commuters. To be precise, it will be helping 0.72% commuters, and what will happen to the rest?” she asked.

“This is a death blow for the commuters, and it is only fair if they have a public consultation about this before they go ahead,” she further said.

“Parameshwara had also made a statement some months ago that he does not care about commuters stuck in traffic because of VIP movement. How will he understand the traffic issues then? He should be made to travel like any other,” she added.

Another political game?

Citizens, meanwhile, are wondering whether the lawmakers are up for another political game.

“The project was scrapped during former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s tenure, and now Parameshwara has spoken of its revival. Are they not sailing on the same boat?” asked Srinivas.

However, Priya Chetty-Rajagopal, a citizen evangelist who had rallied against the project said, “Where is Tanveer Ahmed? He had supported us shoulder to shoulder during that time, but, we do not hear a word from him now. This is how the game changes in politics.” 

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New wine in old bottle: citizens on steel flyover row

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