BBMP, state government out of sync over road-widening

Confusion continues to loom over the status of road widening projects in Bengaluru. Recent media reports suggested that all road widening projects in the city were put on hold, after a statement made by Transport Minister R Ashoka. The Minister later backtracked saying that work on only the Mysore Road-Central Silk Board corridor will be stalled.

One of the markings on the Silk Board-BTM Layout corridor, indicating proposed acquisition of 7.41 m. File pic.

Citizen Matters reconfirmed this with Ashoka who says, “I don’t know how many road widening projects have been stopped. I don’t have exact number. In JP Nagar we have stopped”. He went on to state that this project has been temporarily suspended because of objections from residents of Bangalore South, adding, “When we get objections we’ll stop the work”.

In contrast, BBMP’s Chief Engineer (Major Roads) T N Chikkarayappa, says the project has not been stalled. “No road widening project has been stopped. We have not received any order to stop the work in JP Nagar. Everything will go on as scheduled”.

Chikkarayappa says that even he received objections from citizens about road-widening in JP Nagar, which he then forwarded to the BBMP Commissioner. He also says that the BBMP submitted a report more than a month ago to the Chief Minister, stating the reasons for road-widening along this corridor. “We have said that the project is required because of the volume of traffic. It’s more than 7000 PCU”.

Chikkarayappa goes on to say that the BBMP will soon begin sending TDR (Transfer of Development Rights – Through the TDR scheme, the government offers compensation to the public in return to acquiring property for an infrastructure project. This scheme is meant to be optional. The land acquisition is done through the Karnataka Land Acquisition Act) notices to residents across this corridor, a total of 926 in all. On asking why the BBMP is not waiting until the Chief Minister’s Office responded to the BBMP report, he says, “Which project have people not objected to? No one wants to lose their property. We have not received any order from higher-ups to stop work”.

JP Nagar and Jayanagar MLA B N Vijaykumar, however, also states that this road-widening project has been temporarily suspended. Speaking to Citizen Matters, he says that the BBMP Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena has “partially agreed” to stop this project. “We had a meeting with the resident welfare associations, Ananth Kumar (Lok Sabha MP for Bangalore South), Ashoka and BBMP Commissioner. We have told the BBMP to first finish the two underpasses (at Puttenahalli and Kadirenahalli), by then Metro also will come, then if there is a requirement we’ll see”, he says.

Referring to the same meeting with Ananth Kumar (that took place on January 5th 2010), Dr D B Muendi, President, JP Nagar Citizens’ Association, says that the the leaders agreed to look at alternative possibilities. “The so-called TDR that they have proposed, it’s not working. It is not beneficial to people”, he says, adding that none of the residents in his locality have so far received notices from the BBMP. Muendi himself has a marking of 7.5 metres on his wall, indicating the proposed acquisition of the front portion of his Ring Road property.

Manoj Kumar, Manager of My Baby Store (located on the JP Nagar Ring Road) says it is a good thing that road widening will not be taken up. “This is a newly started shop. If they widen the road, then no one will come”, he says pointing to the eventual possibility of grade separators coming up and harming his business.

On August 31st 2009, at a public meeting (read Citizen Matters report here) organised by JP Nagar/BTM Layout’s Ring Road Property Owners’ Association, Chikkarayappa had 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 had said, "I will certainly talk to higher authorities and people in the government to think over this project and come to an amicable decision." Rajavardhane, Special Technical Advisor to the Commissioner, BBMP, had also said demolishing personal property wasn’t right. He further added that, "I will certainly provide alternatives to the commissioner but the final call is that of the government”.

Even as the BBMP’s engineering department and the state government seem out of sync, Ashoka stresses on the need to have signal-free roads, and says that underpasses and flyovers will be constructed on ring roads without road widening. But the politician in him is quick to add, “On the other arterial roads the projects will go on. If we get objections we won’t do”.    ⊕

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About Vaishnavi Vittal 139 Articles
Vaishnavi Vittal is a Bangalore-based journalist.

3 Comments

  1. The Government & BBMP are pennywise pound foolish !Heard of Natural disasters but manmade disasters? They are ready to destroy TREES(which are worth zillions) and property worth Rs 20,000 crores for a project which otherwise (a flyover) would cost Rs 800 crores. In the name of development they are ready to displace people and their homes. Think – Will our children ever be able to cross road without an elder by their side with such heavy traffic speeding in on residential roads?
    On the 100 ft Ring Road though there are 6 lanes, 1 lane on either side is used for parking vehicles despite putting a “NO PARKING BOARD” BY THE GOVERNMENT. WHO IS MONITORING THIS????? How is it that the Government is giving permission for new high rise buildings to come up without parking provision inside the building? IT IS TERRIBLE the way the government or BBMP is looking at development. Today you demolish the houses and take away property for widening of the road tomorrow it is for Metro and then for flyover and then what else????
    Is development another word for demolition and destruction…..of our dreams, homes….

    It is imperative they come up with alternates:
    a) Improve public transport system so drastically that the companies are forced to tell their employees to use Public Transport instead of each company having their own fleet of vehicles. This will prove cost effective to the company, saves environment from pollution and reduces traffic congestion on roads.
    b) Nice Road is ready and hence am sure that the traffic on the other roads will reduce.
    c) Introduce one way system to avoid traffic congestion.
    d) Limit the number of vehicles a family can buy.
    e) Trucks should be banned to enter the city from morning 5 to evening 9 instead of lining up on the roads and causing traffic congestion.

  2. This is a Government that doesnt seem to think twice about constantly putting its citizens into a quandry…. how can we call ourselves a “govt for the people” when we continue to behave and change actions so arbitarily. We were told that the ring road widening would not be done since the creation of signal free roads would ease traffic and it is already a 100 ft ring road. widened… traffic would still block up further down … what are we gng to do then ? break the mosques on bannerghatta road to increase the roadsize ? why are we not looking at alternates ? The govt needs to wake up and not just talk!!!!

  3. is it possible to email this article to mr.ashok and ask him to clarify or put a stop on this b***. I would appreciate citizen matters to look in to this, if not I will do it provide some one gives the ashok email.

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