DH Impact: Outrage forces BBMP to rethink skywalk project

DH Impact: Outrage forces BBMP to rethink skywalk project

Bengaluru Development Minister K J George has asked the Bruhath Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to furnish all details of the project for a review.

A spot visit to the site revealed that all the work has been temporarily halted.

Brisk activity witnessed until Thursday night was not seen on Friday night.

This follows a DH report on Thursday that had exposed the Palike's bid to build a massive structure in one of Bengaluru's most valued heritage spaces.

Work on the project, destined to benefit mainly advertisers, had been inaugurated in secrecy by a local MLA two months ago.

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad confirmed to DH that the Palike has submitted all the documents to the minister.

Shaken by the audacity of the project right in the heart of the city, several concerned citizens, heritage and mobility activists have proposed to file a PIL in the Karnataka High Court on Monday.

Their clear objective is to halt the entire project, foundations for which has already been dug deep.

The lift shaft work is nearing completion on the Mahatma Gandhi Park side.

Meanwhile, indications have emerged that the project was pushed through in a hurry to aid the advertising mafia.

Though a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the traffic police is mandated before such work can begin, the Additional Commissioner of Police, Traffic, R Hithendra said he has not received a NOC application.

A BBMP insider admitted that permission from the traffic police is required to understand the pressure points in terms of pedestrian traffic. The tenders are called for the project only after the NOC is obtained.

Contesting the project's purpose, Meera Iyer, research convenor at INTACH Bengaluru, said, "There are traffic lights there. They work. Why are they spending crores on an ugly skywalk that no one needs, no one will use, that no-one except the BBMP wants?"

Meera dubbed it "sheer callousness" to even contemplate permanently scarring the heart of the city in this manner.

This sense of anger was echoed widely on Facebook and Twitter, where the report triggered intense debates on the government's skewed mobility policies that prioritised motorised commute over pedestrians.

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