BENGALURU: The third phase of the people-led social impact assessment of the proposed elevated corridor project was conducted on Saturday by a group of 30 members consisting of members of Bangalore Environment Trust, Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike, Bengaluru Suddi, Citizens for Bengaluru and The Student Outpost.
The team divided themselves into groups of six each and started covering the stretch from Shantinagar Bus Stand to Richmond Circle.
Some of the issues which the team identified were that the Richmond Circle Flyover will be partially dismantled and the newly constructed skywalk on Double Road will be dismantled. Further, the small shops and street vendors on K H Road (Double Road) were apprehensive of traffic jams and loss of business.
The shopkeepers said business was already low here and they were worried about how long the construction would take and whether the road will be widened and their properties affected. A majority of them were unaware of the project largely till the team spoke to them about the project. Shopkeepers were unhappy that the government failed to communicate to them, any information about the project.
This apart, it was observed that trees on medians and possibly on both sides of the road will be lost. Around 55 trees might be at the risk of being axed.
“We were so far not aware of the project and now since we know how the project is going to come up here, we are scared that we may lose out on our business. Since it is a busy junction, we anyway don’t get many customers. After the work starts, traffic chaos will increase and people will stop commuting on this road and look for alternative routes,” said Dev Raj, a mobile phone shop owner on KH Road.
In addition to assessing the social impact, members of the team also conducted an awareness drive about the elevated corridor project and its possible impact on the environment. The group claimed that the total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 26,690 crore which will result in the chopping of 3,821 trees and pruning of 2,084 trees. Further, the number of buildings that will be impacted are 1,130. The total number of water required for the project will be 266 million litres and the team questioned from where this will be sourced. Besides, the debris generated would be 5,88,678 cubic metres.
Member of Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike said, “We have been asking to increase the number of BMTC buses and reduce bus fares ... but the government is not listening. Instead, it is coming up with these projects which will only create more problems by destroying the environment by cutting down trees and then bringing in more traffic congestion.”
R&R POLICY PREPARED
Karnataka Road Development Corporation Ltd stated in a release that they have prepared a Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation & Resettlement Policy to mitigate the sufferings of those who will be affected due to the implementation of the elevated corridor. KRDCL has identified 300 properties for acquisition for the north-south corridor (22.12 km). It will acquire 17.24 acres.
“To avoid unnecessary cutting of trees and to minimise land acquisition cost, the project will adopt double-decker concept in two stretches of the North-South Corridor. One stretch will be covering from JC Nagar Bus Stand near TV Tower to Cantonment underpass and in the second stretch, it will be covering from Cantonment Veterinary Hospital to Vital Mallya Junction via Queen’s Road and Kasturba Road. The total distance of both the stretches of Double Decker concept would be 3.2 km,” added KRDCL MD B S Shivakumar.