An unusual site was spotted in Bengaluru when as many as 8,000 people made a human chain protesting the construction a Steel flyover that would connect Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal. Protesting against the project, it is alleged that the construction was sanctioned without public consultation and witnessed support from BJP leaders to film maker Prakash Belawadi.
The state government plans to construct the Rs 1,761 crore flyover to improve connectivity to Bengaluru International Airport. However, Belawadi said that ‘Citizens Against Steel Flyover’ forum wants the project to be shelved as it was sanctioned without public consultation and that doesn’t take into account the environmental implication of cutting down over 812 trees.
While the government argues that the flyover will ease out the traffic, critics claim that a whopping Rs 1761 crore will not solve any problem. Belawadi also alleged that government was misusing tax payers’ money to build the flyover when citizens have several modes of transport,including a railway station at Devanahalli.
“The project cost is too high,” he said.
Meanwhile, defending the construction, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that the entire project was transparent and that details were put up on the website and public suggestion was also sought. He added that 73% of the suggestions received were in favour of the construction.
Explaining about escalation in the project cost, Siddaramaiah said estimate was based on schedule of Rates of 2014-15, but as tender happened two years later, and in those two years there was an escalation. He said “After two years it was about 1,800 crore, after that there was negotiations and it has now come to Rs 1,791 crore. Also VAT on steel instead of 5 per cent it is around 14 per cent, so it has also increased leading to escalation.”
When asked about the the trees that will be cut for the construction of the bridge, the government said that they would plant 60000 sapling to compensate for the 812 trees that would be cut.
While critics argue that the flyover is too expensive a project and will save only 10 minutes of driving, government argues that the average speed of vehicles in Bengaluru is already down to 13 km/hour and that this will help the city be in the fast lane. Besides the steel flyover will not emanate dust and will be completed in 24 months.