Gritty residents to stall Sankey Road widening

Gritty residents to stall Sankey Road widening

Gritty residents to stall Sankey Road widening

All for trees: Activists stage a protest in front of the house of C N Ashwath Narayan, MLA, Malleswaram, in Bangalore on Sunday demanding that the BBMP shelve the plan to widen the Sankey Tank Road. DH Photo

If the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is determined to go ahead with its plans to fell 19 trees in a week to widen Sankey Tank Road, residents and NGOs are no less unwavering in their resolve to stall the project.

On Sunday, the agitation against the proposed felling of trees intensified with a series of public meetings and demonstrations. Slamming the civic agency for its “unclear” procedure, the protesters maintained that the project lacked transparency.

The campaign against the felling of trees began with a public meeting at Sankey Road at 7 am. Stressing that widening of Sankey Tank Road is not inevitable as the BBMP claims, the campaigners said that traffic had soared on the stretch only after the road between Maramma Temple Junction and CNR Rao Circle was closed for building an underpass. Hence, once the underpass is ready and that road is opened, traffic on Sankey Tank Road would come down, they argued.

Further, the number of vehicles plying on Sankey Tank Road does not warrant a wide thoroughfare. A survey carried out in March, 2011 says that only 1,286 vehicles ply on the stretch every hour, the activists pointed out. The BBMP, however, quotes a study undertaken by the Indian Road Congress (IRC) which puts the figure at about 2,400.
Even if one buys BBMP’s argument, the number of vehicles would fall after the underpass is completed.

“People are ready to endure traffic jams. But why is the BBMP adamant?” Meenakshi Bharat, who is leading the agitation, asked.

No transparency

The apparent lack of transparency in the projects has also irked the protesters. Meenakshi Bharat also questioned the Deputy Mayor’s apparent ignorance about the contractor tasked to fell the trees. She says the BBMP did not bother to take the citizens into confidence.

“There’s absolutely no information on the project. No Detailed Project Report (DPR) has been prepared. No notice has been issued. How can we trust the BBMP?”  Meenakshi asked. Later, the protesters headed for the house of C N Ashwath Narayan, MLA of Malleswaram, and staged a protest. As he was not in the City, the legislator reportedly promised to hold a meeting, in which the public opinion would be elicited on the issue, only on Wednesday. But the agitators were not amused.

“We’re asked to conduct a meeting on Wednesday. But before that, the trees would be axed,” a protester said.

The activists’ efforts to have an audience with Deputy Mayor S Harish did not bear fruit either. Harish has promised to meet them on Monday.

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