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Karnataka govt scraps Bengaluru steel flyover project in a major victory to citizens' protests

In a major victory to protesting Bengaluru residents, the Karnataka government on Thursday decided to withdraw the steel flyover project connecting Chalukya circle to the Hebbal flyover. CNN-News18 reports that Karnataka Urban Development Minister KJ George will soon make an public announcement regarding the issue.

The steel flyover plan had come under attack from various citizen groups over environmental concerns ever since the state cabinet approved the project in September 2016.

As part of the Rs 1,791-crore project, a 6.72-km long, six-lane steel flyover was proposed to de-congest the roads of Bengaluru. The project was expected to be completed in 24 months. The project was to be executed by Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) and Nagarjuna Ltd, with the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) overseeing it.

Representational image. Getty images

Representational image. Getty images

However, the feasibility of the project came under scanner on account of the massive use of steel and the felling of over 800 trees that raised concerns among citizens and activists.

On the issue of tree felling, the BDA commissioner Rajkumar Khatri had sought to assuage annoyed protesters with assurances that 60,000 saplings would be planted in other parts of the city.

Protesting the project, noted architect Naresh Narsimhan had told Firstpost, “This is a poverty of imagination.”  He had also added, "Any substantial infrastructure development should look ahead by at least six generations. Will this steel monstrosity that is to come over the best parts of the city be looked upon as a good thing? Not at all. In fact, it is a disaster even at the planning stage.”

Several online petitions and public interest groups too protested against the project.

Many citizens had also alleged that the project indirectly encourages private sector and kills the greenery of the city.

An online petition mooted by Rajiv Chandrasekhar, Rajya Sabha MP, said, "Bengaluru needs a comprehensive mobility plan with focus and large scale investment in public transportation… (and) the proposed steel flyover (gives) a strong signal (that the government) prefers to cater to the private sector," The Indian Express reported.

Historian Ram Guha and businesswomen Kiran Mazumdar Shaw had also come out in support of the protesters.

However, despite the protests, the Congress government persisted with the plan.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had defended the government's stand on the flyover. "The decision to spend Rs 1,791 crore for development was not taken just like that. It was done after a lot of deliberation,” The Indian Express quoted Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as saying.


Updated Date: Mar 02, 2017 13:26 PM

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