Bengaluru: Karnataka deputy chief minister G.Parameshwara on Tuesday said that the government will try and revive the controversial steel bridge project, 21 months after it was scrapped over allegations of corruption to opposition from environmentalists and citizens.
“The bridge is very important and necessary at the moment," Parameshwara said on Tuesday, using the city’s growing and unmanageable traffic as the reason for reviving the project that would end with the culling of at least 800 fully grown trees.
With over 10 million people and around 7.2 million vehicles,Bengaluru, that was earlier known as the “garden city", has rapidly lost precious green cover due to the inability of successive governments and civic authorities to find a long term sustainable solution for the problem.
Parameshwara said that he will put the project among the people for their suggestions.
The six kilometer long steel bridge or flyover, from Chalukya Circle to Hebbal, was opposed by citizen groups across the city as it would cost Bengaluru more green cover just to reduce travel time by about 15 minutes for those travelling towards the airport and back.
Politically, the project caused a huge uproar as opposition parties had alleged that it was a scam in the making.
The steel bridge or flyover, that was touted to become the longest flyover in the country, was estimated to cost ₹ 1721 crore, which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had alleged was a scam for the benefit of then Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other seniors in the Congress party.
The BJP, which had first announced the project during its term before 2013, had said the increase of close to ₹ 500 crore was to help fund the Congress election campaigns in Uttar Pradesh two years ago.
The current Janata Dal(Secular) or JD(S) and Congress coalition government headed by H.D.Kumaraswamy have proposed at least two big public infrastructure--Peripheral Ring Road and Elevated roads--that would cost several thousand crore and thousands of trees.
Activists have already raised their voices in protest against culling more green cover for projects like Metro and flyovers which has not helped reduce Bengaluru’s traffic problem but only added to them.