Protests Mount Over Bangalore’s Controversial Steel Flyover


Flyover under construction (File)
Highlights
  1. Steel Flyover to stretch from Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal Flyover Junction
  2. Project cost has escalated from Rs 1,100 Cr to Rs 1, 791 Cr
  3. Nearly 800 trees to be felled along flyover route
  4. Experts critical about project cost, efficacy and design

Bangalore’s controversial steel flyover has finally got a nod from the state cabinet. Pegged to cost a whopping Rs 1,791 crore, work on this project is expected to begin soon. However, there have been very vocal protests against the project, with both urban mobility experts and citizens calling it a waste of resources.

Worries rise over cost escalation, environmental impact

The steel flyover is being planned to cover a 6.7 km stretch from Basaveshwara Circle to the Hebbal Flyover Junction. The government is expected to begin work on the project soon, and plans to complete it by March 2018. However, the six-lane steel structure will come at a heavy environmental cost, with 812 trees being felled along its route. However, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has promised to take steps to minimize the damage.

“60,000 saplings will be planted in various layouts developed by the BDA across the city,” says PN Nayak, BDA engineer.

The project has also seen a sharp escalation in costs, soaring from Rs 1,100 Crore to Rs 1,350 Crore and then to Rs 1,791 Crore. The government has tried to downplay the issue, claiming that the costs include maintenance costs and the construction of ancillary structures like ramps and underpasses.

“The initial estimated cost was Rs 1,130 Crore; the company had quoted Rs 1,856 Crore. However, after a series of negotiations, the cost of the project now stands at Rs 1,791 Crore,” said Law Minister TB Jayachandra as he defended the escalation in costs.

Experts question efficacy of steel flyover design

Right from the start, the government has claimed that the steel flyover will help ease pressure on city roads, while making the commute from the city to the Devanahalli airport considerably easy. But traffic management experts claim that is just a myth and say there were several other solutions that the government could have considered.

“They could have built a monorail or an underground metro which would be much more cost-effective and would not destroy nature,” says traffic expert NM Shreehari.

Urban planners have also raised doubts about the sustainability of the project, warning that constant vibrations could weaken the nuts and bolts of the flyover.

“You know the design is defective. Steel bridges are not durable like concrete bridges,” warns urban planner, AS Kodandapani.

A poll conducted by NDTV when the steel flyover was announced showed that a majority of people polled opposed the project. As things stand, the movement to oppose the project is mounting.

 

Various political parties have already sent letters to the Karnataka Chief Minister asking for work to be halted, until there is a public review of the project. The Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF) has already filed a writ petition in the Karnataka High Court; challenging the project.

 

Edited by Nikhil Narayan Sivadas

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