Scheming of an underpass at Tagore Circle

In 2004-05, four underpasses/ flyovers were thrust upon the citizens of Basavanagudi. V V Road flyover built against intense public opinion, has less than 30 per cent utilisation even today. R K Ashrama Circle flyover was scrapped due to BJP’s opposition. R V Road underpass was overtaken by Metro work. An underpass at Gandhi Bazaar Circle was opposed by the traders and a quid-pro-quo was reached with them that the underpass will be shifted to Tagore Circle and the traders will not oppose. This can be verified.

In 2006, when the Chief Minister came to start this bypass-work, the local public petitioned that a traffic light is sufficient at this place and an underpass is a waste. It was obviously ignored. Since about a year, Assistant commissioner of police (Traffic) is being requested to provide a traffic light first at Tagore Circle and then study if an underpass is required at all. Both have been ignored with disdain and the work started on the midnight of  October 31st 2009, without any information to the public.

An invitation to the corporation commissioner or his representatives to attend a public grievance meeting on the subject (Janaabhipraya), organised by Deccan Herald and Prajavani on November 8th 2009, was not attended by any official, despite prior assurance and acceptance.

It looks like the decision for this underpass is not based on facts or need. It is taken up on the premise that the Passenger Car Unit (PCU) at this circle in 2006 was 11358 per hour ( Ref: para 5.4 of the Detailed Project Report of BBMP), which has turned out to be exaggerated, as seen from a study done in September 2009 by a public group, which found that 3182 PCU per hour as the actual average traffic volume even now. Therefore, it is necessary that a fresh study of the PCU per hour is done, in public knowledge, before work continues.

A leading traffic expert has been strongly expressing this view from the beginning. Assistant commissioner of police (Traffic), according to the media, has stated that his office has not been part of such study by BBMP. The figure of 11358 PCU per hour of BBMP has not been authenticated by anyone nor made public to avoid objections. On the other hand, experts have stated that it is exaggerated. And the budget for the underpass has been approved on this basis.

There is no absolute need for an underpass here. If it is supposed to be a part of a larger plan to make K R Road a free moving S-N thoroughfare, it may be be noted that a Metro Station has come up on K R Road between National College and M S Samaja. The idea of a thoroughfare can no more be feasible. This underpass at the enormous cost will not serve any purpose of either easing the traffic flow or controlling the traffic.

On the other hand the public has been suggesting to provide a simple traffic signal at Tagore Circle, to make B P Wadia Road a one way going west to east and make D M Road a one way going east to west, to ease the traffic at Tagore Circle. This will also force the traffic to take the unused V V Road flyover from Lalbagh west gate towards the areas to the west.

Near the Basavanagudi police station, there are two major bus stops used by about 7000 persons daily, mostly students. With the underpass, these stops will vanish, putting the public to enormous discomfort, denying an economical and eco-friendly public transport. Also with the underpass the pedestrian space will be very restricted and unsafe. All this is not discouraged by the courts, who are not hearing the public grievance, when BBMP states that these are part of a development process for the city and the work cannot be stopped. Public would like to know now as to what development is achieved with this underpass, when it does not serve any purpose.

If the JnNURM fund is to be utilised in a specific timeframe, there are many places in the city where the need for a grade separator or underpass is more urgent than at Tagore Circle.

Seventy to eighty trees are being cut for this underpass. No effort is made to transplant. We doubt if permission of the Trees Authority of India is taken.

It is time the local people rise from slumber and raise their voice against such wasteful expenditures and ecological destruction.

This was reported by most of the local media in the past months..

As official information is being denied to the public, this article is based partly on information collected unofficially.  ⊕

4 Comments

  1. Well, this project won’t be complete until the Ministers, Contractors and the BBMP staff get indigestion from swallowing too much cash belonging to taxpayers.

  2. Right Mr. Vishwanath. It’s again our apathy and indifference that has allowed these corrupt netas to do what pleases them. We should go after the BJP MLA from the B’Gudi area and get him to stick his neck out or he’s gone next time. I’m sure the B’lore South Minister has great financial needs from this project.

  3. I agree with what is said here.Few years ago the residents of Basavangudi received a colourful brochure which showed the new projects which will be undertken. This included another flyover near the Ashram and also the Tagore circle I had written a letter on 13th Dec 06 to a major newpaper in the city . It read :
    —————————————-
    Dear Sir/Madam
    Ref : The proposed underpass at Tagore circle
    The underpass proposed for the Tagore Circle in Basavangudi is an ill advised scheme. The need of the hour is not an expensive fly over/underpass but a simple traffic signal. An unfettered free way for the vehicles spells doom for the pedestrians of which there are plenty in this essentially residential/educational area. Even as such the roads, though narrow, are not easy to cross. The traffic signal , apart from being inexpensive and less time consuming, will also help the pedestrians to cross the roads.. It is suggested that the concerned officials call a meeting of the residents to discuss this and similar schemes.
    Yours Sincerely
    P.R.Vishwanath
    ——————————–
    I am sorry to say that the letter was not published. More importantly, the Tagore circle scheme also was not dropped . One wishes that more people had taken interest at that time. The only way left now seems to be intensify the stir

  4. This shows we don’t have a democracy, it’s just a sham to call ourselves a democratic set-up. The current government is just another manifestation of the “paleygar” mentality in India (feudal lords). Hopefully, Basavangudi residents will elect a corporator who will stand up to this corrupt nexus and stop this project. Great write-up!

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