The battle over Bengaluru’s steel flyover continues
The dispute over the planned steel flyover by the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) continues, with neither party willing to relent. The 6.72 km long, six-lane steel flyover project which is planned to connect Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal will reportedly cost Rs 1761 crores. The project which allegedly involves the slashing of 800 trees, has faced heavy opposition from environmentalist groups, activists, farmers and even the Jawarharlal Nehru Planetarium.
The NGT on October 28th, 2016 granted an interim stay of the project on petitions filed by Neelaiah, Citizen Action Forum & retired bureaucrat V. Balasubramanian, and further extended the stay on November 25th. The petitioners contended that the BDA had planned to proceed with the flyover without holding mandatory public hearings or obtaining necessary environmental clearances. Senior BDA officials however are confident of a legal victory at the NGT, and claimed that since the flyover was an extension of the National Highway, it was exempt from any environmental clearances.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Development Minister KJ George have both expressed their eagerness to go ahead with the project, despite any opposition from environmentalists, stating that the project was necessary to ease traffic congestion. It was further stated from government sources that if the project was delayed, then the government would have to consider an elevated corridor from Silk Board Junction to KR Puram at an estimated cost of over Rs 4000 crores. The Petitioners however have maintained that an Environmental Impact Assessment of the project is mandatory and that the government is merely trying to avoid it as it is well aware that an assessment will bring to light the adverse environmental impacts of the project.
‘Bengaluru steel flyover blocked as NGT grants interim stay’, LiveMint, 28th October 2016.
‘National Green Tribunal extends stay on steel flyover’, The Hindu, 26th November 2016.
‘Govt keen on steel flyover, to seek NGT stay vacation’, The Times of India, 2nd December 2016.