Bengaluru: Bengaluru is protesting against a government plan to build a steel bridge that will make travelling to the airport easier, in a project that will cost the city 1,800 crores and more than 800 trees.
- Citizens have moved the High Court against the proposed bridge
- The project will cost the city 1,800 crores and more than 800 trees
- Bengaluru's civic body has promised to plant 60,000 saplings
Citizens, some of who have moved the High Court against the proposed bridge, have protested not only against the cost of the project but also against what they call a lack of planning for an increasingly congested Bengaluru.
Actor Prakash Belwadi has asked if the government assessed alternatives before zeroing in on the steel bridge. "Why is this idea better than other ideas? There is a vision group that plans all these things. Does this vision group like this steel bridge plan and is it part of the larger mobility plan," he asked.
Next Sunday, thousands of people are expected to come out on the streets of the city to form human chains in protest against the state cabinet's okay for the 6.72 km steel structure, to be built between Bengaluru's Basaveshwara circle and Hebbal.
Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrashekar said the project was approved without any public consultation, stating, "The entire city is up in arms. This blatant project is going to destroy the city."
The state government argues that the bridge will serve multiple needs of the city, easing traffic jams on the route to the international airport and also from a key national highway. KJ George, recently reinstated as minister for Bengaluru Development and State Town Planning, tweeted a detailed project plan yesterday, which seeks to address concerns like cost, likely damage to heritage buildings and the need to cut down 812 trees, promising that 60,000 saplings will be planted elsewhere in the city.
"We will consider all concerns raised by people of my Bengaluru city. Already their objections have been considered," promised Chief Minister Siddaramiah of the Congress.
Bangaloreans reject the government's justifications. "The big concern is that the project is opaque," said activist Priya Rajagopal, also asking whether "such a huge expenditure to cut down travel time to the airport by 7-10 minutes is justified?"
Opposition BJP has alleged that the project is an attempt by the Congress government to mobilize funds for election.