Activists, experts decry hurried elevated corridor push

Activists, experts decry hurried elevated corridor push

Phase 1 of the Corridor goes from the Baptist Hospital to Central Silk Board at a cost of Rs 5060.71 crore.

The state government’s decision to go ahead with the controversial elevated corridor has rankled the activists. They are questioning the hurried approach towards a costly project without considering public opinion.

The Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) invited tender for the construction of the 22-km north-south corridor under Phase 1, from the Baptist Hospital to Central Silk Board at a cost of Rs 5060.71 crore.

Vinay K Sreenivasa of the Alternative Law Forum said the move not only ignores public opinion, but also violates a 2010 order by the Karnataka High Court that directed the government to invite objections from the public before taking up such projects.

“The government should have consulted the public and considered the views of the experts who have repeatedly said the project is not a solution to end traffic problems in the city,” he said.

In 2010, a division bench comprising the then Chief Justice of the High Court, J S Khehar and Justice A S Bopanna had directed the government to follow the rules as per Section 14-A of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961, before taking up projects that involve change of land use.

The court had further said that sections 29, 30, 31, 32 and 34 of the Act should be followed and warned that concerned officer/official will be held responsible for violation of the directions.

An official from KRDCL said all due procedures were followed before inviting tenders. “There is a section of public which is opposed to any development work. Let them offer a solution,” he said.

Ashish Verma, professor of transport engineering at the IISc, noted that the supporters of the project keep talking about the Shuto Expressway in Tokyo to argue the case for the elevated corridor. “However, the true story of that expressway is that the structure has become a liability. It was not built to reduce traffic congestion, but as an immediate measure during the 1962 Olympics. Now, they are trying to find a way out,” he said.

Verma further noted that comparing Bengaluru’s condition to Tokyo’s was wrong as Japan’s busy capital has an extensive mass rapid public transport system within the city’s core area. “The mode share of public transport is 85% to 90%. They are also discouraging ownership and use of private vehicles. We should follow them and build more public transport infrastructure,” he said.