Extravagant, ill-planned, unnecessary: Citizens

The steel flyover project was scrapped after citizens cried hoarse. But the State apparently learnt nothing from the public outcry. The new government, in its budget, has proposed to build a network of elevated roadways, connecting the four corners of the city, at a cost of over Rs 15,000 crore.

The project is supposedly intended to help decongest the city. Bengalureans, however, beg to differ. And they beg the government to stop coming up with proposals that are ill-planned and might only add to the woes of commuters.

“It sounds very nice. Elevated roadways, cutting across the city traffic, connecting each corner with no signals probably. But will these elevated paths or flyovers be built in thin air? What about the roads below? What about the service roads? And how much will these flyovers accommodate? There are so many questions even before the authorities consider building these flyovers,” says Shanmugam V, a retired teacher.

The proposal, he adds, is another instance of the unplanned growth of the city. “You cannot stack one road on another and expect the congestion issue to be solved. There needs to be better planning. I am an ordinary citizen and I can make out that this is not the right way forward. The authorities must understand it too,” he says.

This is a point echoed by most Bengalureans. Having travelled from one part of the city to another, citizens speak from experience, not expertise. “I travel from Rajajinagar to Whitefield, and I must say the government’s plan is outright naïve. Citizens need better public transport. When we are travelling almost 40 kms every day, not everyone will opt for personal vehicles,” reaons Mariya, a software professional.

In her view, the government is approaching the whole problem from the wrong angle. “If the government wants to decongest the roads, it must improve public transport. The unwanted piece of infrastructure might encourage more personal vehicles on roads. On the contrary, if the authorities develop better Metro lines, last mile-connectivity and sophisticated public transport, it will encourage people to ditch their personal vehicles,” she explains. Citizens also feel that the structure would mar the city’s aesthetics. Apart from the concern about the number of trees that might get chopped, people are worried about the pollution—air and sight— it will add to. Anand Sharma, a businessman, feels that these structures might end up suffocating the citizens. “Be it the KR Market flyover or the one at Richmond Circle, these flyovers congest the roads below and create such a depressing scene,” he says.

Sharma notes that the trees are gone, the pollution is rising and then, the authorities come up with plans that will aggravate the issues. “They flyovers an eyesore. No green, only grey. The garden city was gone and at this rate, Bengaluru will soon be a suffocating city.”

To find solutions, citizens believe the government is blindly aping the West. In Bengaluru, the government is neither making long-term plans nor is it offering holistic solutions to the issues that the citizens face. “Creating flyovers or signal free-corridors is great if it is planned. Spending thousands of crores and creating a muddle, is disappointing,” says Chirag, a civil-engineering student.
He feels to make use of such free-ways, the government must come up with a plan to divert heavy vehicles to such elevated roadways. “This way, the narrow city roads will be freed for other vehicles. Mindlessly spending money on projects is a fraud, unless the authorities back it up with concrete, expert planning,” he points out.

Everyone agrees that the government must put the available funds to better use. “They are spending over Rs 15,000 crore. Look at our roads, unsafe and filled with potholes. One spell of rain and everything is washed away. Maybe rather than ill-planned projects, the government must pay attention to the citizens’ basic needs and the city’s fundamental infrastructure,” explains Sharma.

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Extravagant, ill-planned, unnecessary: Citizens

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