In a relief to many environmentalists and activist groups in Bengaluru, the Karnataka government on Tuesday informed the High Court that it had dropped the controversial steel flyover project.
The project, proposed by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) between Basaveshwara Circle (Chalukya Circle) and Hebbal, hit headlines as citizens came out in large numbers to oppose its construction.
Proposed in 2016 during Congress leader Siddaramaiah’s tenure, the project was later revived after the Kumaraswamy-led coalition government took over. According to the proposal, the flyover was to be built at a cost of Rs 2,200 crore and over 800 trees were to be felled.
Close to 8,000 Bengalureans took to the streets in 2016, chanting ‘Steel Flyover Beda’. The movement garnered support online too. Representatives of various citizen groups came together to spread awareness on the importance of opposing the project to the general public.
They also met government officials at various levels requesting them to call off the project. The human chain formed along the entire span of the proposed flyover followed by some litigation processes had then led to the Siddaramaiah-government calling off the project. But the Kumaraswamy government revived it.
Citizens and mobility experts had then pointed out that spending such a huge amount for the construction of the flyover was not at all a feasible idea. Instead, it was suggested that the government should invest more in improving mass transportation systems in the city in a cheaper and efficient manner.
Mobility expert Ashish Verma, one among those who opposed the move, said there were speculations of a concrete flyover being built along the same stretch instead of a ‘steel’ one.
“A complete scrapping of any such project would have been ideal but in this case, the fundamental questions remain the same. Packaging the steel flyover as an elevated corridor or in another avatar will just degrade traffic issues in the city,” he told Indianexpress.com
“Instead, mass transportation systems should be the government’s priority at least for the next two to three decades. Any extra width added to the existing roads should be earmarked for public transport giving priority to bus lanes,” he added.
At the same time, several others have expressed their delight on the government dropping the Steel Flyover project. “Three years after #Bengaluru turned up on the streets to protest the #SteelFlyover & a long drawn battle in the #Karnataka HC spearheaded by @rajeev_mp & @Namma_Bengaluru, the ‘thoughtful’ State government has decided to drop the project! Truly a victory indeed!,” a citizen wrote on Twitter.
Three years after #Bengaluru turned up on the streets to protest the #SteelFlyover & a long drawn battle in the #Karnataka HC spearheaded by @rajeev_mp & @Namma_Bengaluru, the ‘thoughtful’ State government has decided to drop the project!
Truly a victory indeed! https://t.co/yPxYCYhVhy
— Vinay Prakash (@Vin_prak) June 19, 2019