Stop and re-evaluate illegal and irrational ongoing road-widening work in Bangalore sign now


Dear Sir,

Road-widening in Bangalore has caused apprehension amongst several people in Bangalore. Recognising the same, you had earlier said that road-widening will be carried out only after discussions with the public [1] . The Urban Development Minister had also said the same [2] . However, inspite of this, BBMP is planning to go ahead with road-widening without holding any public consultations. There are several serious concerns regrading this project -
1.The current road-widening which is happening on Jayamahal Road, Bellary Road, Suranjan Das Road and other roads are illegal as they violate the the judgments of the Karnataka High court issued in the Public Interest Litigations WP 7107/2008 and WP 13241/2009 .

In its judgment in the case WP 7107/2008[3], filed by environment support Group and Others, the Karnataka High Court has stated that if road-widening is identified as needed, then the BBMP must strictly follow the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act, Karnataka Town and Country Planning (KTCP) Act and Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act. In its judgment in the case (WP 13241/2009), in which the BBMP is also a respondent, the High Court has ruled that "if a direction is issued to the State Government, as also, the Bangalore Development Authority to ensure that in future, in case they desire to change the land use, as has been depicted in the master plan, the competent authority shall follow the procedural mandate depicted in Section 14-A of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961 And likewise in case of making a town planning scheme, the State Government, as also the Bangalore Development Authority shall comply with the procedure contained in Sections 29, 30, 31, 32 and 34 of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961".

In the current road-widening projects underway in Bangalore, the procedures mandated by the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act have not been followed. No scheme has been drafted for the widening of these roads, nor plans for these roads made available to the public for their opinion, before implementation of the plans.

The current projects are in gross violation of the above-mentioned judgments and hence illegal. Hence, the road-widening projects need to be stopped with immediate effect, and action taken against the officials violating the law.
In addition to the fact that these projects are illegal and violate the planning laws and procedures applicable, there are several other concerns -

2.Road-widening is not a long-term solution at all. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers has reported that August 2010 had the highest ever monthly sales of cars in India. If we just widen roads and don't do anything to reduce the number of cars and private vehicles on the roads, road-widening will not work. Without doing anything to reduce the number of cars on the roads, the government is taking up road-widening.

3.Road-widening and Metro construction work in Bangalore have already caused the loss of thousands of trees. Research by the Bangalore based research institution ATREE has shown that roads which have wide-canopied trees have lower temperatures and lesser air pollution[4]. BBMP claims to plant saplings in compensation for the trees cut. But planting 10 8-inch saplings as compensation for 80-year old trees does not compensate for the current loss!

4.In the first 5 weeks of the opening of the new airport, 17 pedestrians were killed on Bellary Road due to lack of pedestrian facilities and overspeeding by motorists. The situation is so bad that the High Court has also expressed its concern over the rise in pedestrian deaths on Bellary Road[5]. With pedestrians already finding it difficult to cross the road, further widening of this road will only turn it into a death-trap for pedestrians.

5.The priority given to the Airport Road, and further widening of roads leading to BIAL, is highly skewed and disproportionate to the minuscule percentage of population who uses these roads regularly. According to Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA) study [6], there are 30,000 people traveling to airport vs. 10,00,000 people traveling to Majestic Bus Stand everyday.

6.The Detailed Project Report of Jayamahal Road and Bellary Road does not mention any alternatives considered for the project. There are possible alternate mechanisms like changing the flow of traffic, installing synchronised signals and other measures which BBMP should consider before deciding to widen the road. Similarly, the people of the city do not know if BBMP has considered alternatives to any of the road-widening projects underway or even of the necessity of the road-widening itself. Suranjan Das road is being widened to help Bagmane Tech Park employees (the Tech Park is part funding the project and the destruction of trees)[8] even as local residents have been given no chance to express their opinions about whether the project is required or not

7.The Terms of Reference of the Technical Advisory Committee of the BBMP call for a social assessment of all projects which have a cost of more than 2 crores. However the Detailed Project Reports of these projects contains no mention of any social cost benefit assessment.

Keeping all this in view, we request you to take the following steps with due dispatch:

I.Stop the road-widening projects on these three roads immediately.

II.Implement traffic measures to calm traffic, discourage private transport and improve public transport:
1.Implement paid parking. Prevent parking on arterial and high movement roads
2.Provide buses with seperate lanes in major roads with immediate effect
3.Improve and widen footpaths and crossings for pedestrian safety

III. Have public consultations involving residents; users of the road including pedestrians, cyclists, bus-users ; Bangalore Traffic Police; BMTC; urban planners,; transport planners and other groups before deciding if road-widening is the solution to the congestion problem.

IV. Make sure that any measures taken to reduce congestion follow the planning norms as laid out in the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act and the Technical Advisory Committee of BBMP

With this representation, we hope to bring to your notice the flawed rationale upon which these road-widening projects are being pushed in the city. More dangerously, not only is the rationale faulty, the methods/processes followed for implementation are even more problematic and undemocratic. We therefore submit this representation in the hope that immediate action would be taken to ensure that actions taken by BBMP ensure that pedestrians, residents, cyclists, bus-users and street vendors are not harmed and that urban greenery is not senselessly lost due to undemocratic, illegal and irrational decision making.

Citations:
[1] http://www.hindu.com/2010/08/07/stories/2010080762810300.htm
[2] http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/print/2368-tdr-workshop-september-gok
[3] http://www.esgindia.org/campaigns/Tree\%20felling/Hasire\%20Usiru/legal/HC_Road_7107_2008_PIL_160309.rar
[4] http://www.atree.org/city_trees
[5] http://www.hindu.com/2008/07/19/stories/2008071961430300.htm
[6] http://www.bmlta.org/Indicators2008
[7] http://urbanindia.nic.in/programme/ut/TransportPolicy.pdf
[8] http://www.deccanherald.com/content/125785/why-widen-quiet-road-residents.html

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Latest Signatures

  • 10 November 2015100. Vinay Braun
    02
  • 30 August 201599. Allen Baldwin
    I support this petition
  • 04 August 201598. Trupti Stanley
    do we really want wide roads at the cost of losing beautiful old trees? and is this road widening really going to help us in any which way?
  • 02 August 201597. Nikesh P
    I support this petition
  • 25 July 201596. Jatin S
    I support this petition
  • 10 July 201595. Bhakti P
    please think over this issue again! cutting of trees is not a sensible resort to do things! WE NEED SMART ROADS NOT WIDE ROADS
  • 24 April 201594. Uma Vc
    Stop the road widening. Please consider the need for lung space and safety of pedestrians.
  • 21 April 201593. Rajeev M
    We need to look at moving people as the objective and NOT moving vehicles. We must embark on a major initiative to discipline road usage and we'll discover that available space can be better managed.
  • 10 March 201592. R Sranjeethau
    I support this petition
  • 06 March 201591. Nimisha K
    В
  • 27 February 201590. Sanjay Reilly
    no to road widening
  • 24 February 201589. Sumathy Marquez
    There are plenty of other dire needs of Bangalore, Why isnt BBMP doing something about it....
  • 29 January 201588. Ramalakshmi S
    I support this petition
  • 23 January 201587. Dr Kailashn
    Please for Heavens sake, stop the project as it illconcieved,waste of money and time and useless. we can never replace the allready deleted green cover
  • 21 January 201586. Nanda R
    Preserve Bangalore and its essence which are its tree lined avenues. Do not sacrifice it at the altar of Development making it just another concrete jungle!
  • 02 January 201585. Sagar J
    Save the environment, not damage it. Trees are extremely valuable and irreplaceable.
  • 27 December 201484. Priya R
    I support this petition
  • 05 December 201483. Niveditha M
    В
  • 16 September 201482. Chandra S
    I support this petition
  • 13 August 201481. Aravind V
    I support this petition
  • 28 July 201480. S P
    I request action on this matter.
  • 10 July 201479. Prasad N
    I support this petition
  • 28 June 201478. Jubin Le
    I support this petition
  • 18 June 201477. Shilpi S
    Stop killing trees
  • 07 March 201476. Preran C
    I don't think it is a good idea chopping the trees !!!
  • 31 December 201375. Sourav M
    Please Please Please spare the trees!! They are our city's lungs ! Don take them away from us !
  • 13 November 201374. Hiroo A
    Stop this senseless slaughter of heritage trees.

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Information

Kerri BarreraBy:
Technology and the InternetIn:
Petition target:
Honourable Mayor, BBMP, Bangalore

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