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.
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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. ⊕