Residents 'steel' themselves to oppose flyover

Residents 'steel' themselves to oppose flyover

Residents 'steel' themselves to oppose flyover
The state government’s ‘steely’ approach to go ahead with steel flyovers in the city has again come to the fore in the form of a go-ahead being granted to the project at Sivananda Circle. Even as the government had to buckle under pressure to withdraw its ambitious project for the flyover between Chalukya Circle and Hebbal flyover, this time round the powers-that-be have accelerated the pace for the project at Sivananda Circle. DH spoke to some citizen activists and residents who opposed the project tooth and nail as public consultation has again been overlooked before granting sanctions.

RTI activist Mahesh Sivananda, of Sivananda Stores in Kumara Park East, berated the project as being a misconception. “It is an ill-conceived project meant to mislead the public. The project claims to be a steel flyover but in reality, only 106-110 metres will comprise steel while the remaining will be concretised,” Sivananda said.

Sivananda believes that the road is not wide enough and proportionate to construct the flyover. He explained, “The road cannot be widened as the stretch has business complexes located on private properties on either side of the road, which may lead to litigation. It will also be impossible to make it a signal-free corridor as envisaged by the authorities.”

He is of the opinion that the project is being executed at breakneck speed to cater to vested interests as elections are round the corner.

Senior advocate and a resident of Kumara Park V, Tarakram questioned the viability of the project and sought to know if the authorities even prepared a feasibility report for the same. “The authorities seem to have not done their homework as the road is disproportionate to even be considered for a flyover. The railway underbridge should have been widened and a few properties acquired to align the road and then make it one-way to decongest traffic,” he said.

Tarakram is also doubtful whether the structure would be able to withstand the weight of heavy vehicles. He hopes that the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, which has its building on the stretch, will use its powerful lobby to ensure that the project gets stalled. The senior advocate also expressed concerns over lack of transparency in the proposed project as the opinion of  local residents in the area was not taken before giving it the green signal. Social activist Kumar Jahgirdar, who recently held a protest against the proposed flyover, had this to say: “The downward movement of vehicles towards the narrow road leading to the underbridge will result in severe congestion due to the restricted width of the underbridge and the structural limitations to widen it.”

Residents are wary that their protests would go unregistered because the government may muffle their dissenting voices and still go ahead with its plans to construct the flyover at Sivananda Circle. But they have resolved to relentlessly oppose its implementation.

Jahgirdar said he would team up with the residents and other activists to get a signed memo to submit to the government to withdraw the project. He said they were also considering filing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

Lecturer and social activist, Arun Prasad commutes frequently to Sivananda Circle as he enjoys the salubrious environs of the stretch lined with trees. He feels, “The ecological balance of the area would be disturbed as the project would warrant felling of 30 rain trees. In the process of decongesting roads, the government will congest our lungs.”

Residents hope that better sense prevails on the government and it realises that short pass-overs are necessary only where arterial roads intersect feeder roads and not on a stretch like Sivananda Circle.

Also, many argued that Hare Krishna Road becomes narrower and bends as it touches Race Course Road, leaving little scope for a service road for the traffic below. They feel the proposed project would only create more bottlenecks than decongest traffic, thereby defeating the very purpose of constructing the flyover.
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