In sharp contrast to the series of protests against the proposed road-widening project by the BBMP, the representatives of these “registered” associations, for the first time since the controversy broke out, were busy fanning public opinion in favour of the project.
Whether they were successful in influencing the locals will be subject to time. But what they have managed to do is raise eyebrows on why they chose a day so late to express their willingness for the project and why the day before the PIL of the activists comes up before the High Court?
The RWAs taking out processions shouting slogans in support of the project, dissident residents allege, is a ‘lobbying’ tactic by the local MLA Ashwath Narayan and corporators from the constituency.
When questioned about the intent of the RWAs to come forth at this juncture, Govindraju, member, Gayathridevi Park RWA said that they, the ‘real’ residents, were sick and tired of ‘outsiders’ trying to act as saviours of the green cover along the Sankey Tank Bund Road.
“With the green activists and certain outsiders trying to stall a much required road widening, it is important for us to show our support for the project to be completed,” he said.
A section of the Sadashivnagar RWA, expressing disappointment over their office bearers “hijacking” the association and claiming its support for the project, termed the move as “stage managed” by the BJP, which is the ruling party.
“It is clear that the residents who have supported the project are doing so as a result of lobbying by the MLA and the local corporators. Moreover, the Sadashivnagar RWA has not taken all its members into confidence before pledging the support for the road widening,” said G Dasharathi, resident of Sadashivanagar.
Earlier in the day, unlike most residents, who tried spending a peaceful Sunday in other parts of the City, scores of residents were out on the streets trying to influence people and the BBMP against the project.
The protestors agitating against the project converted their morning walk into a peaceful march educating the local residents on the negative impact of tree felling and the project causing the felling of trees. A door-to-door campaign from the Sankey Tank gate was taken up by the activists urging people to come out and oppose the road widening.
In all, what has been a tumultuous week for the residents of Malleswaram over the controversial road-widening project of the Sankey Tank Bund Road finally culminated with battle lines being drawn between the pro and anti-road widening resident groups from the area. And all eyes now will be on the High Court, which is set to hear the PIL filed by Meenakshi Bharath and others, agitating against the project.