The Karnataka government has scrapped the controversial Bengaluru steel flyover project.
Briefing reporters, Bengaluru development minister KJ George said, “We have cancelled the project as we have been forced to prove our sincerity. There are corruption charges being levelled against us when not a single rupee has been taken as kickback by us … We do not want to take the blame for something that we have not done, so we are dropping the project. The steel bridge project had become a pain point for us as the media has been speaking on a daily-basis about corruption in it.”
There was a lot of hue and cry over the Karnataka government’s decision to build a steel flyover in Bangalore, covering a distance of 6.72 km to ease the commute from the city to the international airport.
The decision drew the ire of environmentalists, technocrats, and citizens who organised large protests against the project which was slated to cost a staggering Rs. 1,800 crore and result in the cutting down of 812 trees.
What was the flyover about?
The Rs. 1,791 crore project by the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) was a six-lane steel flyover from Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal. It was to ease traffic pressure to the International Airport at Devanahalli. The proposed project, the BDA said, would be completed in 24 months and be open by 2018. It was estimated that as many as 2.68 lakh vehicles would have use the flyover every day on completion.
During the construction of this flyover, around 812 trees would have been chopped down. It was also estimated that the expenses of the flyover would increase because of maintaining the steel.
Flyovers have only limited success in ensuring smooth flow of traffic. The flyovers just shift a jam from one place to another. The traffic will increase in the coming years, and the steel flyover will also get clogged.
The only solution to the city’s traffic burden is to promote mass transportation such as monorail, light rail transit, commuter rail system and the metro, which cost less and have a higher carrying capacity of passengers per hour per direction.
The project saw strong protests from the older residents of the Bangalore. The basis of these protest was that the project would significantly reduce the green cover of the city and would encourage more private cars to ply in the city instead of people preferring to take public vehicles.
Citizens started online petitions to garner the support. Historian Ramachandra Guha, actor Prakash Belawadi, entrepreneurs Priya Chetty Rajagopal and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde and many other public personalities had voiced strong protests. The protesters used #SteelFlyoverBeda to voice their protest. They also took the signatures of people on the ground.