BWSSB drive: Residents look the other way

BWSSB drive: Residents look the other way

BWSSB drive: Residents look the other way

Land acquisition could be the most challenging issue for the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) as it prepares for the signal-free corridor project. Here’s a sampling of what people residing on the corridor routes have to say about the project, their anxieties and the road ahead. 

For instance, the residents of JP Nagar are already worried about compensation-related issues as the ORR- Mysore Road junction to Central Silk Board Junction corridor passes through the area.

Kumar M, a resident who lives nearby the Jedimara junction on the Outer Ring Road, JP Nagar 3rd Phase, is anxiety personified. Reason: He had been issued a notice by the Palike a year back, stating that he would have to part with his property for road widening.

"I have been living in this house which I built 15 years ago. I was shocked when the Palike engineers told me that around five feet of my property would be taken for road widening. I applied for the grant of the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) a few months back on the advice of my friends. I am awaiting a favourable response,” says Kumar. Seventeen properties are to be acquired under the project at Jedimara junction.  

But there are still many who are not even aware of the project. Aslam N, who owns a estate company in JP Nagar, 3rd Phase says, “I have heard through word-of-mouth about Palike's signal free corridor project. Some of my colleagues were discussing about a few private property owners, in order to save their lands, approaching the courts to get stay orders."

The corridor project seeks acquisition of 41 properties at Dollars Colony Junction and 37 properties near Food World Junction (JP Nagar 2nd Phase). Residents in the vicinity are now facing the heat. 

Traders at the Food World Junction feel there is no need for road widening at the spot. "Except during morning and evening peak hours, the traffic is quite manageable here. Road-widening here will create disturbance and affect our business. We have a legal team and in case, notice is issued to us, we will tackle it appropriately," says Harry C, who heads a Reliance Digital outlet there. 

Some Dollars Colony inhabitants are confused about the properties to be acquired as there are two Colonies bearing the same name. "There is one Colony near Dalmia junction ( Behind Vega Mall)  and one at BTM Layout, 2nd stage. We do not know  which are the ones that are going to loose due to the road widening work. No one has made it clear to us," notes a resident of BTM Layout, preferring anonymity.

Protests begin

In other areas such as Hosur Road, the corridor project has already triggered protests. BBMP has proposed to construct underpasses at the The Forum Mall signal, Adugodi signal and at the Elgin apartments signal, but the residents in the vicintiy complain that the Palike’s plans are unscientific.

Nitin Sheshadri from the Koramangala Infrastructure Task Force says that they do not have any problem with the signal-free corridor, but the problem lies in the execution of the project. He says, “This stretch is a low-lying area and has numerous unidentified and unmapped underground utilities. Underpasses will require huge collateral expenses and time for restoration of disrupted utilities catering to a very huge segment of dependent population.  A flyover is a better option,” he feels.

Echoing the view is C Sathyanarayan, president of Adugodi Residents' Welfare Assocation. He says the local residents will not allow an underpass to be constructed at the signal.   “Underpass is a bad idea as there are many utility lines lying beneath which will be disturbed and will not be rectified immediately by the civic bodies.

There are chances of water logging as well.  We want BBMP to execute a proper job while keeping the future in mind. A flyover could ease the traffic at the Adugodi signal,” he says.

At this junction, portions of nearly 70 houses have been identified for the road-widening project. Residents have been asking for market price value as compensation by the BBMP.

The Prestige Elgin apartment is another landmark on the road, all set to lose a portion of its land including the compound walls. V Purushotham, president, The Elgin Apartment Owners’ Association says that BBMP officials have been rude and have even harassed the owners to vacate the place enforcing TDR (transfer of development rights) to carry out the road-widening project.  “First, we were not happy with the compensation offered by BBMP to us.  Now, as the Land Acquisition Bill has been passed in the Parliament, we need the compensation as per the new rules.  Secondly, the Palike officials have been ruthless in approaching the residents for the land. However, a stay was brought after a petition was filed in the High Court,” he informs.