The Karnataka government has filed a petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the validity of the National Green Tribunal’s stay on the 65- kilometre Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) in Bengaluru. It said the project cost has escalated 12 times the original estimate of Rs 1,000 crore in 2005 and the “indefinite stay” would only delay it by 10 more years. The project was intended to decongest the city traffic and reduce air pollution. A bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta would take up the special leave petition filed by advocate Sanjay M Nuli on behalf of the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), challenging the tribunal’s order.
The petition mentioned that the NGT had “indefinitely” stayed the entire project proposal for PRR phase 1, linking Tumakuru Road and Hosur Road through Ballari Road and Old Madras Road, until a fresh environmental impact report is obtained. “As a result of the pendency of the matter before the green tribunal, the cost estimate has gone up from Rs 1,000 crore as planned in 2005 to Rs 12,000 crore in 2019,” it said. The state government said the project was planned to address the growing needs of the residents of Bengaluru to commute faster and to decongest traffic on existing roads, besides connecting the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (Nice Road) with more access points.
“All of this would result in a smoother movement of vehicular traffic and decongest the city,” the petition said. The project is located far from the Thippagondanahalli Reservoir and is not disrupting distribution of drinking water to city residents. The tribunal passed its order on a petition by Sudhakar Hegde and others, noting that there was a five-year delay in the environmental clearance given to the BDA. “The project proponent will not proceed on the basis of the environmental clearance granted on November 20, 2014,” the NGT said. “There was an error in noting the number of trees cut and the impact of the potential leakage of the petroleum pipeline was not considered,” it said.