The facility is unwanted by people around but the BBMP wants it, hence it will be done. In spite of the resistance from local residents, the Palike is constructing the Rabindranath Tagore Circle underpass in Basavanagudi. The work will be a good example to show how an underpass should not be done.
Recently, the BBMP had opened for trial runs the half completed service road from Tagore Circle to Basavangudi Police station. There are no footpaths here and the service road is directly connected to the gate of an apartment. It does not have proper access to the local police station and Krishna Rao Park. Skywalk facility, which is essential on this road, is sadly absent.
Over the last few days, the BBMP has been digging the other side near Basavangudi Club and Basavangudi post office. This will hinder vehicular parking and movement on KR Road, HB Samaja Road and Govindappa Road leading to further parking congestion near Gandhi Bazaar.
The underpass will also cause inconvenience to pedestrians from these roads to reach Gandhi Bazaar. There are no proper service roads and pavements in the vicinity.
It is unfortunate that there was no public consultation held before the commencement of the project. Many had demanded it but the Palike simply ignored them.
This controversial project has also suffered cost overruns and delay. The expected cost was initially Rs19 crore. Now it has gone up to Rs28 crore. It is a usual practice, though. Every project is allowed to drag so that the cost overrun happens and the tax payers are penalised for officials’ incompetence.
As it benefits officials, contractors and material suppliers, everybody is singing hosannas to the practice.
BBMP, which initially claimed that it will complete the project within 10 months, is well behind the schedule and it is not known when the project is going to be completed. The cost of ill health it accrued to the public is of course not auditable. The project has also taken away the life of a worker.
Scores of beautiful trees were sacrificed for the underpass. Who will bear the social and health cost?
“Public policy demands that every infrastructure project ought to have the consent of the people who are going to be directly affected by it,” says a retired archeological official who lives in Basavanagudi.
One does not understand what we have achieved by bulldozing the trees and destroying KR Road, one of the oldest stretches of Bangalore.
The tree protection laws also stipulate that the authority that cuts a tree should do compensatory planting. No such thing has happened so far.