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No agency walked the talk on skywalk

Hebbal accident: NHAI, BBMP, Bengaluru traffic police pass the buck
Last Updated : 27 February 2015, 19:47 IST
Last Updated : 27 February 2015, 19:47 IST

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Who should have built the much-needed foot overbridge or skywalk for pedestrian safety at the accident site at Hebbal on National Highway 7?

A day after the horrific accident near the Esteem Mall junction, in which two lives were cut short, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the BBMP and the Bengaluru Traffic Police have started passing the buck to one another.

However, all the three agencies were well aware of the vulnerability of road users at this dangerous spot.

Several petitions by citizens, NGOs and resident welfare associations were filed in the past one year seeking a skywalk/ foot overbridge at this junction, but to no avail as the authorities kept on passing the buck.

BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana said: “The NHAI had agreed to build the skywalk when BBMP proposed to construct it, saying that it was under its jurisdiction.”

 Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) B Dayananda said, “We received petitions from certain residents and NGOs and forwarded them to the BBMP and the NHAI, which are the competent authorities to construct the skywalk. We had been taking up the matter with the BBMP for the last one year and each time we were told that the departments concerned are on the job.”

NHAI project director Surendra Kumar said: “It was the BBMP that had sought a permission from us to

construct a skywalk. We approved its proposal with only one rider that there would not be any advertisement put on the skywalk.”

When asked whose responsibility was it to construct the foot-overbridge, he said: “Most of the projects of the NHAI are outside the City and this is the only one which has residential area and as such NHAI does not construct skywalks or foot-overbridges. We have provided pedestrian safe crossing facility at 24 points on the 23-km stretch. At these points, there is zebra crossing as well as signal for pedestrians clearly indicating when to cross the road and when to wait.”

“The accident was unfortunate, and we will send a proposal to Delhi seeking approval for constructing a skywalk,” he said.

Sadly, the NHAI has only woken up after two young lives were lost and many others were injured in Thursday’s accident.

Sanjeev, a resident of the area, had sent an e-mail to the NHAI authorities in April 2014 as part of a public grievance redress programme, stating the dire need of a skywalk on the 23-km stretch between Devanahalli and Hebbal.

In its reply, the NHAI had washed its hands off the matter, saying it has provided facility for pedestrian crossings at 24 locations on the stretch including at the Esteem Mall junction.

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Published 27 February 2015, 19:47 IST

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