Confusion prevails among Bannerghatta road residents, after BBMP announced its road widening plans. Though notices were issued to many occupants along the road last year and markings made on walls, no work was undertaken due to compensation-related issues.
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BBMP plans to widen the 7.4 km stretch between JD Mara junction (where JP Nagar ORR intersects Bannerghatta road) to Koli Farm Gate after NICE ring road. According to BBMP’s Major Roads department, the road will be widened from the existing 25-30 m to 45 m. Project is estimated to cost Rs 250-300 cr.
This includes three flyovers and two underpasses that BBMP plans to build on the stretch, to make it a signal-free corridor. There will be a three-tier grade separator – which includes flyover, underpass and level road – at JD Mara junction. Two flyovers will be built at Bilekahalli junction and Hulimavu Gate. An underpass will be built at Arakere junction.
While the road widening is being done as per RMP, the plan for underpasses and flyovers was made by BBMP. A senior official at the Major Roads department, on condition of anonymity, says that the plan is in the initial stage and that it would take about six months before it gets all formal approvals.
"Corporators and Major Road Committee are co-operative about this project. But it has to go through several levels of approval including Chief Engineer, Town Planning Officer, BBMP Council, Commissioner and Urban Development Department. There can be changes in plan along the way," he says. K T Nagaraj, Superintendent Engineer for Major Roads, was not reachable for comment.
Some 880-900 properties will be affected due to widening; about 3 lakh sq ft of land is needed for it altogether. BBMP plans to send notices to property owners and make markings on walls again.
There are very few individual houses along the stretch – buildings are mostly apartments, software companies and shops. There are about 20 high rise apartments with an average of 300 units per apartment. BBMP says that the first 1.5 km stretch from JD Mara has about 50% commercial properties, and the rest are mostly vacant lands and undeveloped areas. Kalena Agrahara and Gottigere villages which come afterwards are mostly residential areas. IIM-B, and Fortis, Apollo and Wockhardt hospitals along the stretch will have to give up part of their compounds, but the buildings will not be affected.
There are two malls long the road – Gopalan, near Jayadeva flyover and Royal mall near Meenakshi temple. A third one, Vega mall, is a mixed development project which includes the mall and a Taj Gateway hotel at JD Mara junction.
- Area: 16 lakh sq ft.
- Parking space: 1600
- Expected footfall: 30,000 per day.
Royal Meenakshi Mall
- Area: 6.5 lakh sq ft
- Parking space: 1000
- Footfall on weekdays: 9000
- Footfall on weekends: 25,000
- Area: 2.6 lakh sq ft
- Parking space: 395 cars and 1600 two-wheelers.
Y K Bhat, Former President of Mantri Residency Apartment Owners’ Association, says that they had received notices a year ago. Mantri Residency will lose about 50,000 sq ft of land during widening. They wrote back to BBMP saying that there were not ready to accept TDR, but haven’t got any response.
"There are 570 families staying here. We are not a commercial establishment. What will we do with TDR?" asks Bhat. Mantri Residency will lose its security room, vehicle parking area for guests and an ATM kiosk that is being rented out to ICICI bank. Rent from the ATM will be lost.
"There have been no organised protests in the area against widening. We are waiting to see what stand other apartments will take," says Bhat.
BBMP officials say that some property owners have already come forward to accept TDR. "Owners of larger properties will benefit from TDR as it will be useful elsewhere. Those who own 30X40 plots and small shops will be the losers and may protest. If only 1-2 people are protesting, BBMP may give them financial compensation," they say.
Arakere Corporator A N Purushotham says that he will arrange a public meeting with BBMP officials and residents. "Most people do not want to accept TDR, but 80% of people own large properties and will benefit from TDR. About the small shop owners, I will try to convince BBMP about giving cash compensation. I will also put pressure to decrease the proposed width, from 45 m to 120 feet (36 m)," he says.
BBMP says that widening was started due to traffic congestion. BBMP statistics show that the average PCU (Passenger Car Unit) for Bilekahalli, Arakere junction and Hulimavu junction during peak hours (9-10 am and 6-7 pm) are 8195, 8412 and 7697 respectively.
Bhat says that widening maybe inevitable given the traffic situation. "Traffic congestion is high and widening maybe required, though we are not sure if that alone will solve the problem. New malls that are coming up will only lead to more vehicles on the road," he says.
V N Rajashekar, member of the citizen’s forum Save Bangalore Committee (SBC) says, "Many malls do not have adequate parking spaces or proper entry and exit points, leading to congestion."
Meanwhile, Metro rail’s phase II alignment from Nagavara to IIM-B is also set to come on this route. The DPR is in preparation now. Asked whether Metro alignment will clash with BBMP’s flyovers, BMRC PRO Y B L Chavan said that it was a design aspect which will be covered in DPR. BBMP officials said that Metro can be elevated above the flyover or that its alignment can be moved to a different side of the road. However, no co-ordination seems to be happening between the two departments on the projects.⊕