- Karnataka's Siddaramaiah government is planning a 7km steel flyover in the city at a cost of Rs 1790 crore.
- The government is not willing to share any details about the feasibility of the plan
- Citizens suspect massive corruption and demand transparency
One of the weirdest challenges I have been facing in our protest against the proposed steel flyover project in Bengaluru is this: Both sides, the genuinely unsure and those who are complicit say, 'You don't know anything about it.'
Yes, I must admit that's true to a great extent, and it bothers me. But what really terrifies me is the feeling that the Siddarmaiah government itself and Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA), which is in charge of the scheme, are equally clueless. Citizens should know that BDA has been returning RTI applications with the answer that it hasn't worked out the details of the project yet.
And yet, the Siddaramaiah Cabinet is pushing this through with great haste.
Whether this was done with proper due diligence is a question that is before the Karnataka High Court, as part of a public interest litigation filed by the Namma Bengaluru Foundation. But there are many other questions.
If the wise guys who surreptitiously support the government on this steel flyover scheme will bear with a person who doesn't know what it is all about, is unsure and suspicious too, let me ask a few questions.
Firstly, let us agree that the stretch between Hebbal flyover and Basaveshwara Circle, near Vidhana Soudha where this steel flyover is to be built, is indeed a mess. The jams are a nightmare, like at many spots elsewhere in Bengaluru, and we need a way out, as punny as that sounds.
But is the steel flyover the answer? If so, says who? Where are the details of the argument in favour of it? Who vetted it? What are the credentials of those worthies, if you could please tell?
The road up north from Vidhana Soudha to Hebbal is the only link to the airport.
Why can't the government consider completing the semi-circle formed by NICE road on south and west right around to north and east? That would link the airport from the east and west. It should reduce the load on the existing stretch significantly. The completed circle should be able to take trucks out of the city. I don't know if this a good idea, but it seems the obvious solution to me. Does the government think it's bad? Why? Anyone has done a cost-benefit analysis? I hope that's not a part of the Official Secrets Act.
At the very least, call for a public hearing and clear our doubts. If not, we must suspect the worst.
Prakash Belawadi is an Indian theater, film, television and media personality, an activist and a journalist from Bengaluru. He co-founded the Centre for Film and Drama in Bengaluru
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:38 PM