Bengaluru Says No To 1,800 Crore Steel Flyover: People Power Or Politics?

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Bengaluru Says No To 1,800 Crore Steel Flyover: People Power Or Politics?

Karnataka government has scarpped the plan for Bengaluru flyover amid protests by people of the city

Bengaluru:  There have been massive protests and allegations against the Rs 1,800 crore steel flyover project in Bengaluru, meant to connect the city to its international airport, which was finally scrapped on Thursday. But was it people's power or just politics that finally got the project called off?

Priya Chetty Rajgopal, of the group Citizens for Bengaluru, said "Well, I'd like to think it's because of the tremendous citizen's participation and protest against the steel flyover. This is a huge voice of hope for the city and for the rest of the country in terms of how civic engagements and how a city should look."

While activists in Bengaluru would like to see the decision to scrap the flyover as a result of their sustained campaign, it is very likely that the Congress state government was more worried about the fallout from the corruption allegations.

The government's decision to scrap the project has been linked to huge controversy over an alleged diary found during tax raids on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's parliamentary secretary K Govindraju last year. The diary allegedly mentions 65 crores against "steel bridge" and the opposition says it is a reference to bribe paid for the project.

Rajeev Chandrashekhar, a Rajya Sabha MP who has opposed the project told NDTV, "It is an irony because most of the people whom this project was supposed to benefit were opposing this project. So the government had no option but to cancel this project many, many months ago. But I think the recent revelations of a diary and the allusion that there is a political angle and political corruption associated with this project may have hastened the government's decision to cancel it."

There are those who say the project would have been useful. And it does not mean the trees that were a concern are now safe.

Manjunath Prasad, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner, told NDTV,  "Really,  it is a great setback for the city, in easing the traffic congestion, and this is a very important road....Both the Supreme and High Court have given a green signal to the Bangalore municipal corporation to widen this road and we'll go with the widening of this road."

The 6.7 km steel bridge, estimated to cost Rs 1,800 crore, would have required the chopping of 812 trees.

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