On Thursday, the Karnataka government finally decided to scrap the ambitious project of building a 6-lane steel flyover between Basaveshwara Circle and Hebbal which it believed could have helped in solving the problem of traffic jams on the route leading to the international airport at Devanahalli. The flyover was proposed by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and supposed to 6.72 km long but after facing the heat continuously from the local people, the plan had to be scrapped. So, why were the citizens protesting? Why did the government surrender? Here is everything you need to know in 10 points:
1. The idea of building a steel flyover was proposed by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) as it believed that the flyover will help in resolving the problem of traffic jams on the route leading to the international airport which is 37 km away from the heart of the city.
2. The 7 km-long would have cost the government nearly Rs 1,800 crore and needed about 800 trees to be cut. Citizens of Bengaluru who are already fighting against pollution and water scarcity were not ready to pay this price.
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3. Many big multinationals have their offices stationed near the airport which add to the traffic but the citizens wanted the government to explore other options. However, the Congress government said that it won’t shelf the plan.
4. A 30-km toll expressway was built to ensure that people can skip the long traffic jams in the city, however, there is still a stretch of about 7 km inside the city, leading up to NH 7.
5. The next big step taken was to extend the Bengaluru Metro and its first step is set for completion in 2017. Even after that, the Karnataka government was committed to building the flyover.
6. The project got another huge hit when the in-power Congress government was caught in a storm of corruption allegations from the BJP. These allegations emerged after a diary was allegedly seized by the Income Tax department in March 2016 from the house of a Congress lawmaker.
7. BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa lashed out at the Congress saying that the diary contains information about money been paid to top Congress leaders.
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8. After these revelations, citizens demanded more transparency over the steel flyover project and the Chief Minister Siddaramiah said, “We will consider all concerns raised by people of my Bengaluru city. Already their objections have been considered.”
9. Later, the government that it will ensure 60,000 saplings are planted elsewhere in the city to compensate for the trees being removed. It also stated that the impact on the environment will be detailed by experts for its review.
10. However, in October last year, there was a massive protest against the government when close to 10,000 citizens came on road. After which the government had no other option but to go with the popular vote and scrap the plan.
The Karnataka government was also accused by the opposition parties of rushing with the project as the Assembly elections are coming in 2018. The government had proposed the construction work will be completed in just 24 months but the experts questioned the feasibility of the project. As it turned out, Congress was caught in the middle of protests in the state and had to scrap the project.