The detailed feasibility report of the proposed 22-km North-South elevated corridor, connecting Hebbal and Central Silk Board, puts on record that over 250 properties will be affected. However, an ongoing social impact assessment of the project undertaken by citizen activists has found the number is underestimated. On Tuesday, as part of assessment’s third leg, the study team walked from Shantinagar to Bannerghatta Road. It found the maximum impact of the project will be seen on BTS Main Road, whose existing width is 12 metres but the elevated corridor’s proposed width will be 19 metres, necessitating acquisition of properties on both sides.
The team comprises members of Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike (BBPV), Citizens for Bengaluru, The Student Outpost and Bengaluru Suddi. Highlighting the assessment details they have gathered so far, Vinay Sreenivasa, an advocate and member of Citizens for Bengaluru, said the project will affect over 1,100 properties. “Unfortunately, many property owners are unaware of the project and its impact. They haven’t even been given any notice yet. Many were under the impression that the corridor will come up on a neighbouring road or stormwater drain,” he added. Tuesday’s assessment also found many properties along the project alignment have already been marked with yellow paint but residents were unaware of what it meant. “Similar markings can be seen in the Jayamahal portion of the elevated corridor.
Several street vendors are apprehensive of the corridor’s impact,” said an activist. BBPV members said the proposed construction violates several directives laid down by the National Green Tribunal. “The present alignment puts pillars right inside the stormwater drain in Shantinagar,” they pointed out. The activists are doing the assessment in three phases: Baptist Hospital to JC Nagar (6.2km); JC Nagar to Double Road (8.8km) and Shantinagar to Central Silk Board (7.2km). The last leg of the assessment is scheduled for Saturday (May 18). The assessment will then be submitted to the government. A senior official with Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), which is executing the project, said they will create enough public awareness about the project, and acquisition of properties will be done in a transparent manner.
“People need not panic,” he added. Asked about the assessment by citizen activists, the official said they will respond to the same once they get the report. Damage to public infra and trees The assessment team found the project will pose threat to existing public infrastructure as well. “The roads where the corridor will come up are the ones where whitetopping is still being undertaken. They will have to be dug up for the corridors, wasting crores of rupees.
The connecting ramps to the corridor will take away a huge portion of the KSRTC office,” said an activist. The activists said the impact on trees will be more severe than what is being projected. “The entire BTS Main Road is lined with trees. However, given that it’ll be widened, all the trees are likely to go. Trees in the KSRTC office compound will also be affected. There are 60 trees in the KSRTC office and 214 on the stretch from there till Bannerghatta Road,” said an activist.