Corridor to elevated misery

Bengaluru’s civic warriors tell you why the project is murky, and what you can do to stop it
Last Updated 20 March 2019, 02:13 IST

Citizens’ groups are outraged by the proposal to build an elevated road that snakes across 94 km of Bengaluru.

A massive protest on Saturday took 1,500 citizens and activists to Maurya Circle behind Race Course.

Metrolife asked activists why they were opposing the elevated corridor, and here is what they said.

‘Will kill spirit of the city’

Srinivas Alavilli, founder, Citizens for Bengaluru

Reasons to protest:

“The corridor will only kill the very spirit of Bengaluru; Brand Bengaluru is about trees, not flyovers. The project will worsen the traffic problem. It costs a lot of money which can be used productively otherwise. Flyovers are an outdated concept, like typewriters and the flat world theory.”

How to protest

  • Take public transport and promote it.
  • Plant trees.
  • Attend ward committee meetings.
  • Join a citizen group and volunteer.
  • Vote for people with the right ideas.
  • ‘Flyovers have failed; elevated corridor no better’

D S Rajshekar, managing committee member, Citizens’ Action Forum:

Reasons to protest:

“It is mandatory for any project like this to come from the Revised Master Plan and not from the Metropolitan Planning Committee. That is not the case here. The impact on the environment, with the felling of 3,700 trees, is huge. Earlier flyovers---Hebbal, Richmond Circle and Mysore Road, for example---have failed to reduce traffic.”

How to protest

“Politicians and bureaucrats only understand headcounts. It’s high time every individual came to the streets to protest.”

‘We cannot think short term’

Leo Saldanha, coordinator, Environment Support Group:

Reasons to protest:

“Being a democracy, any project should go through public consultation, which the elevated corridor hasn’t. Secondly, this project is pitched in favour of the rich and the elite. Thirdly, the project will destroy the form and character of the city, making sure that walking and cycling become difficult.

Lastly, the project could lead to the crime rate shooting up.”

How to protest

“We have to shape a city that will survive for the next 100 years. We need to think as a community. Work with the ward committees, help in planning ward-level transport and transit plans. Ahead of consultations, citizens should force the authorities to disclose all details online.”

‘Be a part of tree censuses’- Vijay Nishanth, tree doctor.

Reasons to protest:

“The authorities claim the number of trees to be felled is 3,700, but it will be much higher. We started a tree census and in just 800 metres, we could count 80. Many popular locations and monuments will be affected. There is no clarity; things are not explained; a sustainability study has not been done.”

How to protest

‘Join tree census activity, understand details of projects like this, and create awareness. Be a part of mass protests. Write to and meet the authorities to voice your concerns.”

‘The project is anti-people’ -Tara Krishnaswamy, co-founder, Citizens for Bengaluru

Reasons to protest:

“The corridor is anti-development and will adversely impact the economy of
Bengaluru for 10 to 20 years. About 100 km of
construction will leave debris, dust and diversions that will severely affect roadside eateries, vendors, small retailers and
businesses along the
construction. The cost of the corridor is greater
than the sum total of the Karnataka state-wide budget for drinking and irrigation, public education, public health and hospitals. Importantly, the corridor will use a lot of public money for the benefit of a few: a majority of the 1.2 crore population of Bengaluru use buses.”

How can one protest?

“Attend ward committee meetings. Submit a formal letter to your corporator saying you don’t want the project in your ward; get the resident welfare associations to sign and submit a similar letter. Write another to the MLA. Citizens are welcome to participate in our meetings and events.”

Join the action

Want to be actively involved in a citizen’s group?

Here are some contacts.

Citizens’ Action Forum: 93425 53225

Environment Support Group: 080 26713559

Bangalore Environment Trust: 080 23464682

Citizens for Bengaluru: Join their Facebook page

Project on pause for consultations: CM

At a meeting with citizens’ groups on Tuesday, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy agreed to hold wide-ranging and open public consultations on all mobility projects, including the proposed elevated corridor. Kumaraswamy said public transport was his priority and the crisis was an opportunity for him to leave a legacy for a sustainable Bengaluru.

(Published 19 March 2019, 12:42 IST)

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