Who will benefit from this 10 cr road under-bridge?

Despite residents’ demands for a road under-bridge at Gnanabharathi Layout, the government is pushing forth a costlier and less useful alternative. Our citizen journalist asks some hard questions.

Gnanabharati Layout was formed by BDA many years ago to the north of the Bangalore-Mysore rail tracks, adjacent to the Bangalore University Campus. Yet, to this day, the Layout lacks proper vehicular access. Residents have to use the existing Level Crossing No 10 on the road to Dubhashipalya from Mysore Road – at Km 14 on State Highway 17.

Residents of the Layout have been fighting a long and hard battle with the BDA and BBMP to obtain even basic amenities such as metalled roads, street lights, facilities for water and sewage over the past  twelve years. Parts of the Layout are still without Cauvery water and many residents fend for themselves with the help of water supply from tube wells.

Residents of Block 3 have been struggling with BDA/BBMP for provision of a Road Under Bridge (RUB) at Km 10.35 (as per the Railways milestone), roughly opposite R V Engineering College. BDA has already provided a tarred road up to the rail tracks through Block 3. Land for connecting this point to Mysore Road has also been acquired by BDA. However, currently all residents and students have to cross the the rail tracks by foot. Despite many representations by the Resident’s Welfare Association of Block 3, and assurances by authorities, no action has been taken so far.

What is stranger is that the BBMP and South Western Railways (SWR) now propose to construct a 57-meter-long SKEW RUB at Km 11.100 with a longer approach to Mysore Road; BBMP further proposes to acquire the land of nearly 20 plot owners to construct this approach/service road towards Kengeri Satellite Town.

Clearly, providing an underbridge at this location will not benefit any resident of Gnanabharati Layout (especially Block 3) or of the nearby IB layout. In fact, they will need to travel a longer, circuitous route to reach the Block. Many students too will simply continue to walk across the track as the new RUB will increase their walking distance by at least another 2-3 kilometres.

So, then, who is the beneficiary of this RUB estimated to cost over Rs 10 Crores at current prices, with cost sharing on 50:50 basis between BBMP and SWR? It is known that South Western Railways is going ahead with this costly underbridge and the contract for it has already been awarded.

Moreover, why is land acquired not being used to construct the RUB at Km 10.350?

The other logical alternative would be for BBMP/BDA and SWR to construct this RUB at Km 11/400, where the BDA has already constructed a two-lane road up to the rail track and is building the portion across to connect it to the existing 80 feet road to Hoysala Circle in Kengeri Satellite Town.This will benefit all the residents of BDA EWS houses as well as over 600-700 multi-storied flats.

The question, therefore, remains why the BBMP and SWR insist on going ahead with the RUB at Km 11.100, ignoring these other alternatives that will cost much less and benefit a larger section of the "public"?


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