Construction chaos in the name of connectivity upgrade

Namma Metro’s construction work, in its efforts to develop public transport connectivity in the city, has left a slew of dug up roads, broken footpaths, traffic congestion and clouds of pollution in its wake, affecting the daily lives of people.

While people hope to have their roads back and access the Metro facilities as soon as possible, a BMRCL engineer in Hoodi says that they hope to finish the work by 2020. The present service roads provided for the public, he assures, will be developed into a four-lane functional road.

Inayath, a small-time proprietor in Hoodi admits that local businesses are getting affected as parking place is non-existent and it is difficult to even back up vehicles carrying their goods. “The construction work is causing problems for us. But we want the connectivity and easy transport that the Metro provides. It will be a great advantage for us,” he admits.

However, in the pursuit of connectivity, health of the people in the area is negatively affected. Residents in Munikadirappa Layout complain that while commuting has become incredibly difficult for them, the biggest issue is the pollution affecting people in the area.

Says Vijaya, a resident, “Respiratory problems are popping up in homes. My children are always coughing. Just in the last one month, two children have fallen sick with Dengue due to the stagnant water in the dug-up pits. Besides, they have been frequently cutting electricity in the past two months in this area. Life has become very hard.”

Randhir Singh, an IT professional recalls how falling debris from the Metro construction broke the windshield of his car recently. “It is quite dangerous for people on the road. When the construction work is in progress at such heights, they should at least put a net or take necessary precautions to protect the public. I’m considering moving out of this area due to the Metro work.”

Pranay Dubey, founder of E-City Rising draws attention to the service roads that are blocked along Hosur road. This is the biggest problem, he notes, pointing to the Metro equipment that occupies the road space there.

He elaborates, “Commuters have to take the crowded highway for their daily commute, which is very risky and tough for people. I have raised this issue with the BMRCL authorities, but they said we will have to bear with it until the work is done.”

A Whitefield Rising member notes that while the Metro aims to provide connectivity, it is blocking the current road connectivity. The project failed to widen the roads or even provide alternate routes for the commuters before beginning their construction work.

Preferring anonymity, the member explains, “The traffic has become so congested because of the constructions that it’s hard even for the traffic police to control it. We have to leave well in advance to reach anywhere on time.”

The two arterial roads that connect Whitefield to the city are both under construction, the member notes. “An underpass work is progressing on Old Airport Road and Metro work on Old Madras Road. What are residents going to do? You cannot ask us to ‘adjust maadkoli’ all the time,” says the WR member.

However, despite these issues, Namma Metro is being eagerly awaited by Bengalureans. Mallikarjun Kori, President of Whitefield Area Commerce and Industries Association (WACIA) points out that while some areas need attention, the KR Puram stretch in Whitefield has seen a lot of improvement in infrastructure and has better connectivity to the city thanks to the Metro construction.”

Kori elaborates, “Roads have become crowded in some areas like near the Whitefield police station and pedestrian footpaths in areas like Hoodi are also affected. It will help if the Metro work is completed as soon as possible.”

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