This August 27th, there was a notification by BBMP in a newspaper saying Haralur Road would be widened. Most residents missed seeing this notification. Early in December, puzzled by red markings on the wall noting distances from ‘3 metres’ to ‘7 metres’, they found out that the road was slated to be widened to 24 metres.
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This wasn’t just an unwelcome move; but, the residents say, is unscientific and “does not seem to fit in the big picture of future development” with the rest of the city. They hoped against hopes that it would be a temporary move, but in vain. With the BBMP recently marking off the properties for demolition – all built “with approvals from all the required authorities”, the harried residents have now petitioned to the Town and Country Planning, BBMP.
In a petition dated December 2nd, Forward 150 – a forum of resident welfare associations in and around Haralur Road – has drawn up a list of complaints against the BBMP’s decision and even suggested alternatives. BBMP’s unilateral decision Round-the-clock digging and road-cutting do not surprise Bangaloreans anymore. In fact, it seems to be the price paid for living in a metro that seems to have lost its bearings when it comes to everyday commute.
However, going by this petition, what seems to be annoying the Haralur residents most is the BBMP’s unilateral decision to widen the 4.3-km stretch connecting the Sarjapur Road to 26th Main HSR going through Haralur village. This has not only caused severe inconvenience, but is also making them feel left out in the democratic process.
What more, this sort of decision-making without prior consultation with the people concerned flies in the face of the high court’s March 2009 ruling and the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act (KTCP Act). According to the petition, the latter had made it clear that“any scheme for road-widening has to be formulated based on public consultation”.
Not the only option
Secondly, the residents argue that the BBMP is going ahead with this“hasty” decision as if it’s the only option. It’s more like fixing the symptom, not the cause. They complain that the BBMP did not care to study the traffic volume, density, and the demography of the area but has been firm on widening the 40-ft road to 80-ft road “without examining the alternatives”. Neither did it exploit other options like one-way roads and banning heavy vehicles during daytime.
While admitting that Haralur village is the only spot where traffic jams happen, the residents are of the opinion that with help from experts, it would be more practical to crush this bottleneck instead of breaking down the entire stretch.
The way out opposing this move, the complainants have suggested the following:
1. With so many roads linking Hosur Road to Outer Ring Road and Sarjapur Road, can the BBMP not work with traffic police and other experts to see if some roads including Haralur road may be made
2. Can they not limit the number of private vehicles on the road by encouraging vehicle-pooling, alternate-day-only on the road scheme?
3. By providing a defined pedestrian way and asphalting the road fully by stretching the shoulders of the existing road will benefit immensely without having to resort to road widening.
4. Finally, keeping the bigger picture in mind – Namma Metro – would make more sense than launching road-widening projects arbitrarily. However, the residents are in full agreement with BMTC’s proposal to launch shuttle service on Haralur Road TO Iblur through to Hosur Road at a planned interval of every 15 minutes starting December second week. They feel “this will go a long way in reducing congestion as most of us will shuttle to main Sarjapur Road en route and take other connecting bus services to work or otherwise”. ⊕
Based on inputs from Forward 150 federation members including Shekar
N, Sudhakar Pai, Murali D, Raveendran N K, Manjunath M, Ramesh
Sivaram, Ranjan Dutta.