The green win

The green win

Way ahead

The green win
Few incidents have elicited the kind of response that the much-touted proposal to build a steel flyover did. The expensive six-lane project drew flak from citizens and green activists as it required axing of trees and was also termed as an unsustainable solution to reduce city’s traffic woes. The 6.9 km steel flyover was to connect Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal with an extension on Sankey Road up to LRDE complex.

As news of the cancelling of the controversial steel flyover project came in, citizens from every walk of life took to all possible platforms to express their happiness at what was seen as a tough achievement.

Says Varun Hemachandran, who works with an organisation that maps trees, “It is great news, regardless of what reason prompted the government to make such a move — whether it was the pressure from the civil society or because of that whole diary affair. The decision sends out a message that it is increasingly getting difficult for governments to ignore the voice of the people.”

“The joy was palpable in all my Whatsapp groups,” says Simran Tandon excitedly. “It was a huge morale booster of some sorts for youngsters like me because it says that my dissent means something in my city. We often get disillusioned by reading about the many scandals and instances of corruption; I now feel that our disapproval matters, and not just at the time of elections.”

It is a unanimous opinion that the move has come as a shot-in-the-arm for citizen’s movements and is seen as a victory for people; right from the ones who held placards and formed human chains to the ones who wrote articles and shared links on social media, decrying the government’s way of dealing with the issue.

“We want to thank the government for finally paying heed to public sentiment and acknowledging the opposition to the steel flyover,” says Tara Krishnaswamy, a professional working with Oracle.

“This sends out a strong lesson that participative democracy is the way forward. Citizens should come forward and make their voices heard because if you come out
and fight for it, change happens.”

But even amidst the celebration, people agree that this is just the first step of many.

There is a long way to go and even in this particular situation, the fact remains that we still have to find an answer to Bengaluru’s infamous gridlocks.

“The budget is due soon and we have to see whether the government puts its money where its mouth is. The number of buses must be doubled and the ticket rates must be halved. The bus network must be strengthened because it handles the maximum volume of passengers when compared to other modes of transport. The Metro rail system will take a long time to reach its desired potential and even then, its passenger load will be less than that of the buses plying on the roads,” says Tara.

“Sincere thanks to the Chief Minister for having realised that a project like that was not worth it,” says Naresh Narasimhan, an architect.

“They should focus on building a pedestrian-centric city and not a car-centric one. An alternative transit system is the need of the hour,” he opines. Varun adds, “There is a positive effect when citizens work with the government, instead of against it, and try to find solutions to the pressing issues the society faces.”