UNDERPASS ZONE - Bangalore - City - The Times of India
A T Subrahmanya & Sruthy Susan Ullas, TNN, Dec 22, 2009, 03.43am IST
BANGALORE: South Bangalore, called the biggest residential locality in Asia, has more than its share of problems. Apart from niggling issues like solid waste management, dog menace, the glaring problem is several infrastructure projects going on simultaneously, severely hampering movement around the area. Metro work, which started amidst many protests over tree-felling, is chugging along but has also severed commutability.
Citizens rose in unison against delayed deadlines of underpass works in Puttenahalli and Kadirenahalli. Even the Tagore Circle underpass works were much opposed.
The JN-NURM underpass project on Puttenahalli Ring Road was started in May 2008 with an estimated cost of Rs 22.99 crore. The 100-Feet Ring Road connects Bannerghatta Road to Outer Ring Road. Construction work has already seen three deadlines pass by and a new deadline of January 15 has been set now. But a visit to the site shows that work is still going ahead, but at a slow pace. According to BBMP itself, only about 40% works have been completed.
“Twenty metres of the deck is completed. The remaining 30 m is still under progress. The deadlines have been postponed several times. We have filed a complaint against the contractor at our head office in Chennai. I will ask the engineers to file a criminal case against him if the deck is not finished by the end of December,” said an official, who did not want to be named.
D V Raghunath, a resident of Puttenahalli Ring Road, whose house is located right in front of the underpass works, is an exhausted man. Raghunath waited for some time after work started last year at the site. The underpass work not only made him immobile but has also cut off water supply lines. He says: “The work completely cut off my house, and we cannot move out, so we had to shift to Jayanagar. Though we are waiting for the underpass to be finished, work seems to be going on forever. We even tried to approach court but BBMP conveniently washed its hands of everything by putting the blame on contractors and showing that they had fined them.’’
The JN-NURM project at Kadirenalli road junction Outer Ring Road was started in March 2008 at an estimated cost of Rs 28.72 crore, which was supposed to be completed in 10 months. But even after 21 months, project work is still crawling at snail’s pace and has also thrown traffic movement in the area in disarray.
“The issue here is land acquisition. Once we overcome that hurdle, probably by the end of January, then work will speed up,” said the official.
“Business has been dull for the past one year. A bakery and a restaurant next to my complex were shutdown because they were running on loss,’’ rues Kumar K, a businessman near the underpass construction work. Beside the construction site is a dusty field, in which all the lorries are parked. Commuters take a detour on these roads to reach Padmanabhanagar.
“The ride through these roads near the construction work is extremely dangerous. We ride over iron rods and nails everyday. And we need to travel an extra kilometre to reach home,’’ stated Laisy Thomas, a resident of Kumaraswamy Layout. The latest deadline seems to be March 2010, but again, the ground reality shows that it is obvious work will not be complete by the next deadline.
TAGORE CIRCLE UNDERPASS
One of the most controversial underpass works at Tagore Circle in Basavanagudi, under JN-NURM, has drawn the ire of residents as well as several NGOs. Project work, with an estimated cost of Rs 19.49 crore started in October this year at the ‘staggered’ junction, is supposed to connect two roads at different locations on KR Road. Work is being slowed down due to shifting of water lines, the authorities informed TOI.
But the underpass has drawn wide criticism from local residents and even had people starting online petition campaigns, urging people to sign the cause to stop the work. The residents mainly feel that the underpass is unnecessary infrastructure when there was not much of a problem. Though BBMP anticipates high traffic density in the coming years, residents dismiss the idea.
“I filed an RTI about the roads under my ward three weeks ago. The authorities asked me to wait because even they didn’t know which ones belonged where after delimitation,’’ says S R Venkatram, member of the resident welfare association on BP Wadia Road in Basavanagudi.
Apart from these infrastructure works, now Metro work in Jayanagar South End stretch and Vijayanagar area has also made commuting a challenge.
“The traffic jam gets real bad during peak hours. It takes 10 minutes to cross 100 m on these roads,’’ said Nagendra G, a businessman, near Metro work in Vijayanagar.
Potholes have been a major woe of commuters in almost all locations. Vasanth P, a private company employee at JP Nagar, says that each year though the roads are re-laid, the road is pitted after a month.
Though there are several problems in the South, expectations are high that once the elected representatives are in the corporation, infrastructure issues would be addressed quickly.