Bowing to pressure from citizens and green activists, the Karnataka government on Thursday abandoned the controversial steel flyover project in the city, saving about 800 trees from facing the axe. “The steel flyover will not be constructed as the project has been cancelled,” Bengaluru Development Minister K J George told reporters Bengaluru.
The Chennai bench of the National Green Tribunal on October 28, 2016 stayed the 6.9-km project from Chalukya Circle in the city centre to Hebbal junction in the northern suburb, connecting the international airport road at Devanahalli and National Highway 4 towards Hyderabad. The state-run Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) was the nodal agency for the Rs 1,761-crore project and engineering and construction major L&T was to execute it, as its lowest bidder in a global tender.
The expensive six-lane project, ostensibly meant to ease the gridlock on the busy thoroughfare, faced vehement opposition from civic society and urban experts as it would have resulted in the loss of about 800 trees and their green canopy en-route to the city’s outskirts.
State’s former Additional Chief Secretary V Balasubramanian and Citizens Action Forum President NS Mukunda jointly filed the writ petition before the Tribunal against the BDA from executing the project as it would have caused environmental damage to the garden city.
The Tribunal bench, headed by Justice M Chokalingam and expert member PS Rao, passed an interim order, restraining the state government from going ahead with the project till the petitioners’ concerns were heard and addressed.
“Neither the state government nor BDA considered alternative routes, no study was done to confirm if the steel bridge was the best option, no permission was taken to cut 800 trees and no public hearings were conducted before awarding the project to a private firm,” claimed the petitioners then.