On 31st March 2009, Citizen Matters reported about a proposal for a cycle track around Madiwala Lake (see here). Initiated by RideACycle Foundation (RAC-F), the proposal was submitted to the Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA) on 17th February 2009. Former BMLTA Commissioner Gaurav Gupta got the sanction of the Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao for this project during his tenure.
On speaking to Gaurav Gupta (when he was the BMLTA Commissioner) about this project, he said it would be carried out by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) with BMLTA providing technical expertise. “We have requested the BDA to take this up. We will supplement their efforts”, he said.
When Citizen Matters contacted BDA’s Deputy Conservator of Forests M V Amarnath, he said, “We are not doing anything. We are not aware of this”.
On contacting V Ganesh, Range Forest Officer, Krishnarajapuram Range, he said the forest department (whose responsibility includes Madiwala lake) has not received any official correspondence from the BMLTA or the RAC-F about the cycle track. Ganesh says, “If they come forward with the proposal, we’ll think over it. It has to be feasible. We have to clear the encroachments. They also need to get it cleared by the Madiwala Lake and Tank Fund, a committee set up by the government to improve the lake. This committee has representatives from the forest department, BBMP, tourism department and the BWSSB.
In an e-mail response to Citizen Matters’s queries about this project, an official of the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) said: “The Madiwala Lake Cycle Track project has received an in-principle approval from the BMLTA in its 5th Authority Meeting. It has been decided that the same would be executed by BDA as per the directions of the Authority. The Terms of References for preparation of Feasibility Report has been submitted with the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India to access financial support from Government of India as per the provisions of NUTP.
Physically, the lake is within the jurisdiction of BBMP, while it is the decision of the Government to take up this project through BDA”. Citizen Matters was unable to ascertain the reason for the decision to entrust the project to BDA.
The feasibility report for this project is being prepared by Architect-Urbanist Karun Kumbera. A third draft of the report has been handed over to RAC-F recently. Kumbera says they are waiting for a green signal from the organisation to start off with the Detailed Project Report (DPR). “The decision makers (in the government) need to take a call. The ball is not in my court”, he says.
The DPR will take about 12 weeks to be completed. Kumbera says, “You want to do a thorough job. The network of the cycling path should grow. The approach needs to be sustainable”. He adds that if you have a patch of land which needs to developed, you cannot just study that patch of land but also its immediate environment. “The feasibility report is more about what are the possibilities. In the DPR, we will study each aspect separately”.⊕