Skywalk set to obscure Gandhi statue, ruin MG Road's aesthetics

Skywalk set to obscure Gandhi statue, ruin MG Road's aesthetics

One of Bengaluru's most valued heritage spaces, the Mahatma Gandhi Circle right opposite Cubbon Park is about to be destroyed by a monster 'integrated skywalk', a project destined to benefit only advertisers.

Foundations for the project have already dug deep, sparking outrage among everyone who cares for the city's cherished green aesthetics.

Once completed, the BBMP skywalk will completely obliterate the views of the famed Mahatma Gandhi and Queen's statues and as experts put it, contribute to visual pollution of the entire green space anchored by Cubbon Park.

The skywalk design, accessed from the Palike through a Right To Information (RTI) query, shows a foot overbridge taking off from the footpath just outside Gandhi park and crossing MG Road to land near St Mark's Church.

Another bridge heads towards the Chinnaswamy Stadium gate and crosses Queen's Road to land near a corner of Cubbon Park.

The structural blueprint was based on road and footpath alignments proposed by Infra Support Engineering Consultants Pvt Ltd. This agency has been hired as an exclusive consultant for the project. Dubbing the structure 'an absolute disaster in the making,' Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) questioned its purpose when skywalks across the city are in disuse.

"Is it not a fact that many skywalks are serving as nothing more than ugly frames for illegal political banners promoting sons and daughters of MLAs?" asked CfB's Srinivas Alavalli in a Facebook post.

Pedestrians, he said, are treated as second-class citizens and have to climb up and down a structure instead of just being able to cross the junction.

Documents available with DH show that the alignment was designed in keeping with TenderSURE standards. The soil penetration test and topographical survey were completed in April 2017.

Work on the pillars began in December. Work on the lift shaft near the Gandhi park is nearing completion.

Following the private-public partnership (PPP) model, the integrated skywalk is executed on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis.

The skywalk was originally proposed at the Anil Kumble Circle with the 'L' shaped structure hovering above St Mark's Road and M G Road.

This too would have blocked the seamless view of the stately heritage Oriental Buildings housing the LIC office that dominates the circle.

The pillars were designed to hold two overbridges, one from the footpath near Oriental Buildings to the Bible Society and the other from Bible Society to the State Wireless Station.

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