Frequent changes in PRR project leaves people anxious

Frequent changes in PRR project leaves people anxious

Not just farmers but other people residing on the outskirts of Bangalore, especially in areas surrounding the proposed Peripheral Ring Road (PRR), too are a worried lot. For, there is no clarity on the properties that would be acquired for the mega infrastructure project as the list of such properties is being often altered.

People say that the notifications, denotifications, cancellations and ongoing litigations have left the whole project hanging in balance for over six years now. They say that there is no clarity from the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) which is executing the project and is seeking funds from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to lay the 65-km road under Phase-1 from Tumkur Road to Electronic City.

P Rajan, secretary of PRR-1 Affected Families Welfare Association, took a bank loan to build his home and is now worried about the future. He said, “Under the earlier BDA plan for the PRR, my area, Venkatala, was not included. But later, when the BDA revised its plan, we learnt that it had decided to go as per CDP- 2015 and under this our area was getting affected. But there was no record with the BDA of change in this alignment. Now as per recent information from BDA consultants, our area is not included in the road formation, but has been included in the list for land acquisition. We are unable to understand what is going on.”

Now, it is being discussed by experts whether the project should be quashed as it has been over five years and the BDA has been unable to acquire land or start anything in this process. This provision to quash the project exceeding five-year deadline finds mention in the BDA Act.

Adding to this, Rina M, another resident who will be affected by the PRR, pointed out that there is a gas pipeline that is passing through Bilishivalaya and affecting around 17 villages.

She said the BDA is now planning to take the road above the gas pipeline that comes from Mangalore to Bangalore. But there is also another proposal to change the alignment. Nothing is clear. If the BDA has to cross the gas pipeline, its needs clearance from the environment ministry and utmost care needs to be taken as gas leak leads to devastation, she added.

The delay has escalated the project cost by manifold. From Rs 550 crore in 2005, it escalated to Rs 5,800 crore in 2012. Now, with revision of land acquisition rates, it will again go up as the land prices have increased in the ratio of 1:3. The BDA’s land acquisition wing is now preparing the revised rate and will be finalised after JICA gives its green signal.

BDA officials opine that the alignment was not being altered and no changes will be made. Land acquisition is yet to start and the matter is presently before JICA for scrutiny and funds.

The BDA will acquire 1,900 acres of land for laying the PRR and the areas have been fixed as per the final notification.