Residents keen on permanent 2nd road, but have concerns

Residents keen on permanent 2nd road, but have concerns
The temporary opening of a second route to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) offered commuters an alternative to the tolled airport road. Here's what a reality check of the road by DH revealed...

During the airshow, many airport-bound vehicles were diverted through this road. While the roads leading to the airport's perimeter wall near Begur have existed for years, the last 450-metre stretch from Chikkanahalli was what mattered most for commuters.

Six-laning of the road could take over six months. But the 450-metre stretch had to be made motorable in a hurry before the airshow.

A layer of asphalt greeted the motorists, but once they crossed the airport's perimeter wall, a 1.3 km mud road had to be negotiated before reaching the road that leads to the KIA terminal. 

For Shaleel Abdullah, an HR consultant, the temporary opening of the road is an indication that the government is finally serious about an alternative to the congested airport road. “We have been waiting for this for years. Hope a permanent road comes up fast,” he said.

In the words of Rohit Biddappa, a marketing manager with NVIDIA India, there is no alternative to an alternative road. “A second road will take the pressure off the existing road in a big way. But they should expedite the construction,” he opined.

Locals in the area close to the airport wall know land would be acquired to widen the alternative road to a six-lane one. They knew it was inevitable but harboured a few concerns. On one side of the Chikkanahalli Road lies a government primary school. Red marks, determining the area to be acquired, can be seen on the school’s compound. This institution, with a strength of 25 students, is the only primary education centre in the vicinity.

Gnana Sarguna Mary, the headmistress, says that the land, if acquired, will eat up the school's front yard currently used as a playground.

She says, “the small area we have is used for sports and games, to carry out the ‘learn through play’ initiative of the government. Also, the place is used to hoist the tricolour on Independence Day and Republic Day and a large number of villagers witness the celebration.” The acquisition, she fears, will greatly hamper the school’s prospects.

Besides, says Mary, “it will become impossible to accommodate students here and teach them when the road becomes operational. The road will be too close to the school’s front passage where students sit for midday meals.”

The school authorities are ready to vacate the school for the sake of development here. “However, we will do so only if we are given in writing that an alternative arrangement will be made to run the school,” she says.

Right beside the school is a temple. Naveen, a villager, believes it is not right to demolish the temple as it will hurt the religious sentiments of the villagers. Naveen runs a petty shop right in front of the temple. Though he would end up losing his shop during the acquisition, he says he is not bothered too much. His rationale: The area should be developed.

The school staff and Naveen suggest that the government must acquire the required 100 feet land on the other side of the road instead of 50 feet on either sides. Nagaraj, a farmer, will end up giving away 0.75 acre land for the project. However, he says, he would be happy if the village sees development and if the proposed road becomes instrumental in decongesting traffic on the highway.

But Nagaraj wants the government to compensate him and others for losing their lands. It had to be the market value and not government-determined rates. He explained, “We are highly dependent on agriculture. The government must give us the market value, which we deserve, keeping our condition in mind.” Another villager, Muniyamma, echoed similar sentiments. Chenna, a barber, said the project should have been completed by now. He attributed the delay on the government's laxity. That had only worsened the common man’s woes in the village.

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