Karnataka govt drops plan to construct 6.7 km steel bridge in Bengaluru

  • Karnataka HC dismisses the petition that challenged the Bangalore Vision Group’s approval for the bridge
  • Over 800 trees were proposed to be cut for the construction of the controversial steel bridge

BENGALURU : The state government on Tuesday told the Karnataka high court that it has decided not to pursue the construction of the controversial steel bridge, that proposed to fell over 800 trees to cut travel time by just a few minutes.

The Karnataka high court dismissed the petition on Tuesday, taking into consideration the government’s stand on the matter.

The decision to let go of the steel bridge marking a major victory for citizen-led movements and giving them hope to prevail upon elected governments that take up such projects without public consultation in the garb of providing essential infrastructure and mass transport solutions.

“This is a landmark judgement for Bengaluru and Karnataka and can be used as a reference for future projects that do not follow proper procedures," Suresh.N.R, the director of Namma Bengaluru Foundation said.

“In spite of huge protest on 15th October 2016 by over 8,000 people, the government still wanted to go ahead with the project. After denying several RTI application and bypassing the constitutionally mandated BMPC, the Government of Karnataka has finally cancelled the project," he added in a statement issued on Tuesday.

The petitioners had challenged the approval given by the Bangalore Vision Group (BVG) that had by-passed the Bengaluru Metropolitan Planning Committee (BMPC). They had even alleged that authorities held no public discussions before approving the 1,721 crore, 6.7 kms steel bridge or flyover from Basaveshwara Circle (Chalukya circle) in the heart of Bengaluru till Hebbal, that would provide seamless traffic towards the airport.

Approved by the previous Siddaramaiah-led Congress government, the steel bridge had seen opposition parties rally against the administration for trying to impose the project on the city and further threatening its fragile ecology.

Though the previous government had scrapped the project over allegations of corruption and opposition from activists and citizens, the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government had proposed to revive the controversial project in January.

Home to over 10 million people and around 7.5 million vehicles, the unplanned growth and even more unplanned development of Bengaluru has seen consistent degradation of its resources including green cover, water, bringing down the quality of life for its inhabitants. Successive governments have been unable to come up with sustainable solutions to decongest Bengaluru nor find lasting solutions to its problems. Bengaluru, the growth engine of Karnataka, has only grown over the years adding more pressure on the already inadequate and crumbling infrastructure.

The development likely to bolster activists and citizens opposing the proposed elevated corridor project that would lead to a loss of precious green cover in the garb of finding mass transport solutions. The almost 100 km elevated corridor is designed to criss-cross the city and cost around 27,000 crore and felling of over 3,500 fully grown trees.