#DH Recaps | Traffic woes but govt plans flyovers

#DH Recaps | Traffic woes but govt plans flyovers

Despite stiff public opposition, the government is going ahead with the elevated corridor to solve the city's traffic burgeoning problem. DH FILE PHOTO

A year after citizens broke the government’s resolve to build a steel flyover in the city, 2018 witnessed more people coming together to oppose the proposed elevated corridor. Paradoxically, for the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition, the elevated corridor is the only solution to ease the traffic congestion.

The previous government had set in motion the white-topping project, where even good roads were dug up to be concretised at a cost of Rs 986.64 crore. The cash-strapped BBMP is set to float tenders for the second phase of the project, which is expected to cost a similar amount.

The year also saw a revision of the deadline for the completion of the metro from 2020 to 2023, as the estimated cost rose from Rs 26,000 crore to Rs 32,000 crore. Commuters continue to travel in jam-packed metro trains during peak hours. The three six-car trains operating at present are far from sufficient to ferry 4 lakh passengers every day.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), meanwhile, has been left to fend for itself. The token aid of Rs 100 crore can hardly salvage the corporation which is currently grappling with accumulated losses of more than Rs 700 crore.

BMTC’s good old fleet of 6,000-odd buses remain — when in fact more are needed — even as the city’s population is bursting at the seams. Apparently, the government has also said no to the leasing of 80 electric buses, a move which is set to backfire as the Union government, which gave nearly Rs 1 crore per bus, may cite this as a reason for not supporting such endeavours in the future.  

Traffic congestion has already crossed the red line, with Bengaluru’s vehicle population set to cross the 80-lakh margin within a month. The roads in the city are carrying more than double their capacity if one goes by the Passenger Car Unit ratio, brought out by the experts at the Indian Institute of Science.

Against this background, alarmingly, the government has not taken up any notable initiative to address the commuters’ woes, except for invoking the old idea of the controversial elevated corridor, though experts have warned time and again that it will do more harm than good.

The United Metropolitan Transport Authority, too, has not taken off from the budget papers, and the state government is yet to reply to the railways’ proposal for sharing the cost of the Rs 17,000-crore suburban rail project.

Successive governments have seen flyovers, grade separators and magic boxes as solutions to the traffic woes. Like the predecessors, the present dispensation seeks to continue with the same formula, despite warnings that they are not sustainable at all.

Policy makers have been consistently avoiding questions regarding the sustainability of the projects undertaken in the name of development. Most of the infrastructure works have brought the residents closer to the days of flooding, famine, or a shutdown.

Sadly, for citizens stuck for hours at KR Puram, Silk Board or Tumkur Road, 2018 seemed more like the year of unending theatrics surrounding the government’s survival, as Bengaluru was reduced to a stage for enacting the spectacle that put the present government in power.

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