Citizens revolt at BBMP land acquisition for road widening

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It is more than a year but things don’t seem to improve for the residents of JP Nagar. Recently a number of houses on the 15th Cross (100 feet road) in JP Nagar got fresh red colour markings notifying a land acquisition by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike.

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In July last year, houses in the 15th Cross/24th main intersection area got marked similarly and the BBMP engineers said 5-7 feet of their property would be taken to widen the road which necessary for the underpass. As many as 44 residents were worried about loosing space on their properties. Later, the then BBMP commissioner S Subramanya promised the residents that no land would be taken from them.

BBMP land acquisition markings

D Ahmed of Kinetic showroom and C U Balaji of Pragathi Stationers near their shops which will be affected by the BBMP road widening. Pic: SK.

Well, the land acquisition is back again, this time it is not just 44 residents but more than 600 houses being marked with signs indicating more 7 metres (roughly 21 feet) of acquisition. The markings do not stop at the already delayed underpass construction in the area either. The markings run across the 15th Cross ring road in JP Nagar onto the ring road connecting Jayadeva Circle to the Silkboard intersection in BTM Layout.

Residents say that in the first week of August this year, some BBMP officers came and marked their compound walls without asking or informing.  Shailaja Nagaraj who is one of the residents on 15th Cross says, “None of us were notified about this.” Shailaja is in her mid-thirties, and is Vice President, Aegis BPO.

Mutation Corridor
According to the CDP, radial corridors and main arteries of the city are designated as Mutation Corridor Zones. The westbound outer ring road from Silkboard on Hosur Road to Jayadeva Circle on Bannerghatta Road, and onto the 15th Cross Ring Road in JP Nagar, though Shoppers’ Stop and JP Nagar 3rd Phase bus stop, is one such corridor.

But on the 14th of July, the BBMP published two notices, on in the Kannada daily Prajavani and another in the Times of India. Other newspapers were not used. Not all residents were aware which newspapers had carried the notices. In the notification, BBMP asked owners or lease holders of the property whose lands are required for road widening and for construction of underpasses to apply for grant of TDR (transfer of development rights) to the Commissioner.  

Shailaja has been living in JP Nagar since 1995. Her house was built in 1991 on the allotted BDA site. “I wish houses were just bricks and concrete, but they mean much more than that to everyone,” she says.

Shailaja’s helplessness underlines a general worry that runs in most residents. “Everyone puts in their whole savings in building their house, it’s a dream for most of us and for the elderly that’s their only possession, somebody cannot come and demolish this,” adds Shailaja angrily.

Dr D B Meundi, 65, president of JP Nagar Citizen’s Association who has been fighting for the residents’ cause for a long time, says, “It is shocking. We don’t understand why this road should be widened. This is going to cause enormous loss of property, employment and livelihood of the people staying on that road.” His house bears the red colour marking too.

Map

Shailaja gives examples of some of her friends whose elderly parents are finding it difficult to face this fact and are getting depressed many people are even looking for a spare apartment to stay. Some newly constructed apartments and some old independent houses will loose more than 7.5 metres (the depth of the acquisition along their plot boundary facing the road) in the demolition. Shailaja herself will be losing four rooms of her house.

“Shouldn’t we first ensure people use the peripheral ring road once ready, check need and then widen an already wide 100 ft road”, is the concern of most residents on the stretch like Shailaja. They are all clueless why instead of widening the 50 ft and 60 ft roads in the city, the BBMP wants to widen a 100 ft road.

It is extremely upsetting for all residents and all are spending sleepless nights, “The marks are a grim reminder of a BBMP that seems to not involve or does what it wants to,” says Shailaja.

Dr Chandra Sekhar, 73, a retired professor who lives on 15th cross near Central Bank is another resident of the area who is shocked. “Dr.Subramanya’s administration stated that on land acquisition would not happen, but now Meena’s administration is eating those words, and they are marking 7.0 meters on compound walls of houses on 15th cross, JP Nagar I Phase. Is this some kind of a joke?” Sekhar was the first to alert Citizen Matters via email on the developments.

Ring Road land acquisition markings

Dr Meundi pointing to BBMP’s marking that indicates proposed acquisition of the front portion of his Ring Road property. Pic: Supriya Khandekar.

BBMP says it has right of way

Clearing the cloud over the issue, Chikarayappa, Chief Engineer in-charge of road widening project, BBMP, says that the 15th cross road will be widened as mentioned in the Comprehensive Development Plan 2005. “That road is marked for widening and will be made 150 ft,” explains Chikarayappa. The CDP 2005-15 mentions this ring road stretch starting from Silk Board Junction on Hosur Road as a Mutation Corridor* and hence the widening.

Architect and green network Hasiru Usiru-member Vijay Narnapatti, disagrees with the BBMP and says these roads reflect the thinking of how vehicle movement with great roadwork seems to be more important than planning for people friendly cities. He wonders whether these extra wide roads will have special BRTS lanes (bus rapid transit systems) or the Metro. Furthermore, he asks what has been planned for pedestrians and cyclists.“These visions belong to the highway engineer, not necessarily to a city planner”, he quips.

Chikarayappa says that the BDA had informed all the residential and commercial property owners by a public notification in 2004 itself. “After than I had issued a public notification in the month of July too informing the residents through press,” he adds. As noted earlier, the BBMP published notifications only in Prajavani and the Times of India, which Public Relations Officer S S Khandre confirmed.

“This road is a detour road we do not find any reason whatsoever to widen this road. This cannot be considered a proper ring road as there are no service lanes provided here. And this road never appeared in the list of road widening projects,” argues Meundi, flatly.

The Ring Road Property Owners’ Association is planning to organise a Janaspandana (meeting of citizens and officials) on 31 August in JP Nagar. “All the associations that joined hands have approached their respective MLAs and we have invited BBMP officer Chikarayappa too for the session,” says Meundi.
Date: 31 August, Monday
Time: 11 am
Venue: Sindhu Choultry, 15th Cross, JP Nagar

He says that opposition is growing and impacted citizens are joining hands quickly. What started with a group of a few families has become four residents’ associations joining hands to fight back. Associations from BTM Layout, Ilyas Nagar-Devegowda Petrol Bunk, Banashakari and JP Nagar have joined hands and formed an informal body called the Ring Road Property Owners’ Association, he says.

However Chikarayappa maintains, “The residents cannot say we have randomly come and marked their walls, widening that road was always on the agenda. We are now making sure that it happens.”

The city seems set for yet another citizens vs. BBMP stand-off.

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Addendum

JP Nagar/BTM Layout’s Ring Road Property Owners’ Association had organised a Janaspandana on  August 31st at Sindhur Choultry in JP Nagar. Residents of Ring Road, whose houses have been marked, voiced their concerns to officers from BBMP, BDA and MLAs. Chikkarayappa, Chief Engineer Road Widening (BBMP), explained that the ring road is marked for widening under the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) to be made into 150 feet as it falls under the Mutation Corridor.  He then said that he understands people’s pain and that is why he attended the Janaspandana.

Chikkarayappa assured the residents that the BBMP will not carry on with the demolition immediately and will think over this project before taking any steps. He said, “I will certainly talk to higher authorities and people in the government to think over this project and come to an amicable decision.”

Supporting Chikkarayappa was Rajavardhane, Special Technical Advisor to the Commissioner, BBMP. He added that such demolition is not right and he would suggest alternatives for road widening to the commissioner. “I will certainly provide alternatives to the commissioner but the final call is that of the government,” he added.

Also present at the meeting were Ramalinga Reddy, BTM layout MLA, P G R Sindhia, ex-minister, Government of Karnataka, other BBMP and BDA officers, Kannada actress Tara, actor-playright Girish Karnad and other association members.

However, some invitees did not turn up, including Ananth Kumar, MP Bangalore South, Suresh Kumar, State Minister for Urban Development, R Ashok, State Transport Minister, B N Vijaykumar, MLA Jayanagar, M Srinivas, MLA Rajarajeshwari Nagar, M Krishnappa, MLA Bangalore South, and BDA and BBMP Commissioners. More than 300 citizens attended this interactive session.

Related Articles

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“No land acquisition for J P Nagar underpass”: BBMP
What road size will ever be enough?


15 Comments

  1. Hello Friends….
    I would suggest a simple way for controlling the Traffic ,,, People should Avoid cars who is travelling alone such lovely buses are there they can take those or Autos, Huge wide double roads are fooolishly used as One ways , Wat is the Point in that, Look Fwd to use those wide double roads for 2 ways ,, Stop charging the Tolls on Nice Roads as most of them dont like to Pay,, Some times People seen fighting to Pay Parking fees of 1 rupee as Bangalore life has gone damn expensive,, Who would like to spend 10Rupees for travelling on the road,, THANKS TO BBMP ATLEAST THEY EASED THE LIFE OF A COMMON MAN FREEING THE PARKING CHARGES ON ROADS… Like wise they should free the toll charges on nice roads,,With out License vehicle should not be issued ,,, Signal Timings should also change it should not be Long enough for the Traffic to Block the roads,,, Some times seen that Left right and Straight signalling is not arranged properly so that the traffic moves spontaneous , well Many more things are there where traffic people have to thnk on Minor things and things will work out Not just Breaking houses and widening the roads

  2. The Govt. should work in line with people who elected them.Govt. should restrict heavy vehicles and buses from using all the atreial roads in residential roads.Shanthinagar busstation should be closed as it is causing jams and road rages on BTS Road and in Wilson Gardens. Everyday accidents are happening. no Police man is seen doing any traffic management and always seen sitting on their mobikes on K.H.Double Road collecting fines and mamools. No sensible govt. will widen roads by giving a piece of Paper in the name of TDR. Public should protest to protect their properties. We are not politicians to own innumerable properties so that we keep shifting due to road widening. One should be Devegowda or Yeddurappa or Katta to own more than half Bangalore for themselves.

  3. Hi, I noticed a marking in yellow colour on my compound wall which reads DK 101 – and a down arrow towards road mentioning 4.5m. Does anyone know what it means. After seeing this, I am worried a lot. Please help me to understand this. Thanks for your responses in advance.

  4. There are several reasons why this stretch of Ring Road need not be widened immediately:

    a. Underpass at 15th Cross and later maybe a similar solution at Jedi Mara may speed up traffic a lot.See the example at Sankey Road where a SINGLE LANE underpass has helped smooth traffic so well.

    Let the widening take place ONLY in case all these measures fail , after studying traffic for three years after construction.

    b. When a PRR is being built, why widen the existing Ring Road ? Lorry traffic will definitely divert onto the PRR.

    Again study the situation for 3 years after PRR and then take a decision.

    c. Once more, a huge swath of old trees will be cut down for this widening project, especially in JP Nagar. BBMP is repeating the same mistakes that they made on Seshadri Road.

    d. Widened roads only mean more facilities for car and automobile passengers. Walkers will only get smaller footpaths with a much hotter road as the sun beats down on treeless roads. One can see this happening on Seshadri Road now.

    BBMP will be much better off concentrating on improving footpaths and public transport in cooperation with BMTC, Metro rail and other bodies. See the example of Mumbai where all footpaths have been massively upgraded making it a pleasure for ordinary citizens to walk.Bangalore is a horror for all but a privileged few.

  5. ROAD WIDENING IS NOT THE SOLUTION. COMING UP WITH ALTERNATIVES AND TO CURB INCREASE IN VEHICLES IS IMPORTANT. The government should look at improving the public transport system and use the NICE road to divert all heavy vehicles.
    If the BBMP was planning to widen the road how is it that they sanctioned plans for people to ahead and construct?

  6. There are 10,000 vehicles pass on this road and 10,000 properties are destroyed to make way for 10,000 lifeless vehicles. 150 feet road may not take the load of more vehicles in 2020 and need another 100 feet more making it 250 feet road. Why not plan for 2050?
    There is no end for demolition. Population explosion, vehicular pollution and explosion is taking its toll in the form of environmental disaster. Nobody is against the widening. Do not demolish a part of it, take entire 100 feet now and make a road. BBMP has come out with 91 street widening. As per 2020 plan it has to widen another 100 roads. Then,Bangalore will be a city ROADS.
    WIDENING OF ROADS WILL NOT SOLVE ANY PROBLEM. CONTROL, CURTAIL AND CONTAIN THE UNNECESSARY VEHICLES. 2050, Oil will not be available and what good will derive our of these roads. EDUCATION, CULTURE, TRAFFIC AND SIMPLE COMMON SENSE is what is needed. Where there is a will, there is a way. PAY MARKET PRICE, TAKE THE ENTIRE BUILDING, EVERYBODY IS HAPPY TO GIVE IT.

  7. It is unfortunate for the residents and owners who are affected by this proposed action. But sometimes the interests of a few people have to be subordinate to the larger interests of the city. Since this is a ring road which is a candidate for signal free traffic, there seems to be a legitimate need to extend the 100 feet to 150ft of road width; You need this space for building flyovers/ interchanges and create a proper lane system.

    However there needs to be more transparency and public debate on any planned infrastructure. BBMP should organize regular public reviews of all projects and use the citizen input to avoid badly designed flyovers (the Magadi Rd/Toll gate flyover and even the Hebbal flyover) and hasty designs (like the Boxes on Bellary road). Further, fair compensation (the market land rate and replacement construction cost) should be provided to owners of affected properties.

  8. Citizens living in these BTM,J.P.Nagar and Banashankari ring road have much more serious and complex problem.
    Even, if compensation is awarded, most of them are not eligible for it, as they have not complied with the sanctioned building plan. Large scale deviations and violations are noted in the construction of these multi storied structures, and hence, they stand to loose for their folly.

    ECO PACK
    http://www.ecopackindia.blogspot.com
    http://www.ecopackindia.wordpress.com

  9. Road widening on the ring road is a very difficult task. It involves huge amounts around Rs2,000 crore to be paid in compensation to the owners. Where is it? TDR is voluntary and nobody accepts it, The Government must invoke Land Acquisition Procedure. When acquisition notification is issued, it means, compensation has to be paid.

    Secondly, Oil is just vanishing and within 50 years, it is not at all available and has to depend upon renewable source of energy. In such a situation, what these widened roads are for? RITES an organisation, who has advised the Govt regarding widening has not taken human consideration. These Governments have not come from heaven. It is our own creation to rule ourselves. EVEN THE POISON OF THE SNAKE IS POWERLESS, IF YOU CAN STRONGLY DENY IT. My great fellowmen `SWAMI VIVEKANANDA` Said it. It is true. Make it happen.
    ECO PACK

  10. Why is the road being widened? It is due to traffic jams and congestions.
    There are innumerable ways to control and streamline it. Widening roads may be one of the options. But it is not final.
    1). Purchase of vehicles must be permitted on the basis of necessity and capacity to buy and must have parking slot. Many do not have parking space, park it on the roads free of cost and giving headache to the police for the theft and damage.
    2). All other important roads like NICE road and Peripheral road must be built and should be made operational immediately.
    3). Streamline and educate the citizens, regarding traffic and movement.
    4). Increase the Road Tax, for the vehicles using the high density roads.
    5). Widen the existing footpaths.
    6). Multi level elevated transport system could be incorporated.
    7). Mono rail, to supplement the existing Metro on these roads, may be planned.
    8). Increase the frequency of the public transportation.

    TDR is voluntary and nobody accepts it. Land acquisition is very expensive.
    GOVERNMENT ORDER HAD BEEN ISSUED AND NOW, THE GOVERNEMENT MUST ISSUE ORDER AND CANCEL THIS NOTIFICATION. Mere politicians assurances are not acceptable.
    ECO PACK
    http://www.ecopackindia.blogspot.com
    http://www.ecopackindia.wordpress.com

  11. Hi, I noticed a marking in yellow colour on my compound wall which reads PXL 192 – and a down arrow towards road mentioning 2m. Any idea what it means. Thanks for your responses in advance

  12. Agree with Sanjay – TDR is useless, our ask is very simple, allow the PPR to operate , route heavy traffic there and then see the need for widening roads. Bye laws have been followed and they are the only space that can touched, not more than that .

  13. This article is a stark reminder of why we need governmental reform and transparency. (1) We need an elected local government and substantially higher citizen participation (and opportunities to participate) (2) We need suitable laws passed and rules implemented that give urban area governance full autonomy. I hope in the upcoming BBMP elections, residents all over the city engage and vote for parties and candidates that promote “real” citizen participation. Your corporator and concerned city govt officials should have to come in front of you and explain the need and rationale behind any such intrusive actions. A TDR is useless for a middle class, resident citizen.

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