Citizens dread another unwanted flyover dominating a heritage route

Citizens dread another unwanted flyover dominating a heritage route

A few months back, 'Steel flyover beda' was one voice that was loud and clear across the city. The voice was heard, accepted and the entire project was let go. But it is back to haunt the citizens, and now with an added trauma of disturbing the heritage area around Town Hall. Bengalureans are clear that they do not want this. The flyover is everything that they dread.

Padmini Sharma, a homemaker articulates this clearly when she says, "What are the civic authorities even thinking? I have always died a little when the city's green cover was sacrificed for some illogical infrastructure that the civic authorities brought up." She also dreads a flyover marring the look of a heritage zone.

Though originally from Delhi, Padmini feels like she has always belonged to Bengaluru. "I moved to Bengaluru in the late 80s when I was just 18, after my marriage. So I have lived a major part of my life here which I call my home. What saddens me is that the authorities have failed to conserve the Bengaluru which makes it stand apart from every other city of the country."

She notes that only citizens' activism has saved whatever little is left. "The steel flyover will make the entire stretch a confused scene with so much mess. I can't even begin to imagine how clumsy it will all become," she notes, shooting a question to the authorities: "Is it too much to ask for proper planning and addressing issues that actually need attention?"

There are many citizens like Padmini who are convinced that the steel flyover is an unwanted addition to the city's unplanned infrastructure. "I think this flyover will be one of those structures which will just be used because it is there. Not that it will either ease the traffic or improve the city as a whole," notes Shahdab Pathan, a software engineer.

He says the vision for the flyover is narrow. "On the one hand, you have the heritage spot under the RMP. There should have been a better discussion between the authorities and the citizens on what actually is needed," he says, pointing to the clear lack of public consultation.

Pathan feels there is a large gap between the needs of the citizens and the plans by the authorities. "We say we want better roads, they add to traffic jams. We say better public transport, they start building random flyovers. We wish for lakes, they give us frothing gutters. I am afraid, the whole mismanagement will only stop when the city reaches a dead end," he says.

Karthik Kumar, a lecturer, wonders if the politics and corruption will ever end. "It is all a drama. They are all up to make money and nothing of it is done to ease the traffic. There are so many other ways to decongest the junctions that do not need a large amount of money. Required are simple plans. But all they want is to spend crores of rupees to address nothing."

The planning, he says, should be futuristic. "The city is growing. So we need flexible plans which will grow with it. For instance, we need better public transport to bring down the number of vehicles on the road.

We just can't dream of widening the roads to accommodate growing number of vehicles. How much can any road be widened?" he wonders.

The authorities do not have a plan because they may not even know what the citizens need.

 

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