Elevated corridor: drop the project

A study conducted by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) confirms what Bengaluru’s residents and citizens’ groups have been saying all along: the government’s plan to build six elevated corridors in the city is a bad idea. The study warns that within five years of its projected completion in 2020, the elevated corridor project will prove to be insufficient as the growth in the number of vehicles will far outstrip the combined capacity of existing roads and the elevated corridor. It is evident from the IISc study that the elevated corridor project
will turn out to be a costly and short-sighted attempt to address Bengaluru’s traffic woes. The project is expected to cost over Rs 15,825 crore and Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has allocated Rs 1,000 crore in the current financial year towards this project. In addition, it will involve cutting down thousands of trees. The government must scrap the elevated corridor project before incurring the heavy financial and environmental costs involved.

The elevated corridor project on paper appears to be a neat way to add to existing road capacity. However, this is a project that will benefit only the elite. It will encourage people to buy more cars, crowding our roads even more and contributing to air pollution without addressing the problems it sets out to solve. Instead, the government should look for sustainable solutions to Bengaluru’s traffic problem, one that reduces jams on our roads, even as it provides affordable and efficient transport for the masses. The IISc study suggests developing the metro rail system in both directions, that is, build two tracks in each direction. Expansion of the metro system and developing the suburban rail network are ideas that the government must pursue seriously. It must strengthen public use of the metro and suburban train system by building feeder bus systems and pedestrian and cycling-friendly infrastructure. These must be the pursuits of a citizen and environment-friendly government. 

Proponents of the elevated corridor project have sought to discredit its critics, arguing that they are “anti-development”. They are not. Citizens’ groups that are opposing the elevated corridors project are calling on the government to use existing infrastructure wisely and to hold public consultations before going ahead with it. The Karnataka government must heed the voices of transport experts, environmentalists and the public, rather than act on pressure from vested interests and lobbies that are eyeing the money being poured into the elevated corridor project. The chief minister has promised to hold public consultations and has assured Bengaluru that he will go ahead with it only if the public is on board. He must keep his promise to the people.

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Elevated corridor: drop the project


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