Smart City extension in Bengaluru is waving green flags to various development projects, and while the government and civic bodies are pushing forward the projects, it isn’t being received well by the residents. The city is renovating itself to establish a larger concrete jungle and these development projects don’t seem to be comforting the surrounding environment.
40 full-grown, decades-old trees in the heart of iconic Malleswaram will be erased to widen Sankey Tank Bund Road and build a flyover from T Chowdiah Road to 18th Cross, as per BBMP’s proposal.
What’s The Plan?
BBMP has revived the controversial project which plans to widen the 1.1 km road between Bhashyam Circle and Malleswaram 18th Cross. But this time it has received certain tweaks, which include building a 560-metre-long, four-lane flyover along the busy road that links central and northern Bengaluru with 7.5m carriageways.
An online petition was triggered as soon as the tender was invited. The petition, which is signed by over 17,000+ signatures, said “Instead of solving the traffic problem, the proposed road widening and flyover project will create severe traffic jam and bottlenecks in Malleswarm and Cauvery junction and trees are more important than those projects.”
The link to the petition: https://act.jhatkaa.org/campaigns/no-flyover-on-sankey-road
Development At What Cost?
Generally, the development projects come at the expense of cutting trees, disturbing lakes, etc. This time it includes an educational institution. Children of Stella Maris High School located near Sankey Tank are worried about the future of their education.
The proposed flyover at Sankeytank will eat away some part of the Stella Maris school. Where should the children go ? To different schools to enjoy their fun time ? .. highly condemn this flyover plan. #Bengaluru @NammaBengaluroo #flyoveryaake #sankeyroad pic.twitter.com/eanXEfz8C3
— Vamsi Krishna (@VamCKrisRocks) January 17, 2023
Children Write Letters To The CM
Around 2,000 students from Malleswaram, Vyalikaval and Sadashivnagar have sent handwritten postcards to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai opposing the proposed widening of Sankey Tank Bund Road and flyover from T. Chowdaiah Road to 18th Cross.
Addressing the Chief Minister as ‘Bommai uncle’ in the letter, students urged him to protect their schools from the proposed ‘Sankey flyover’.
Citizens For Sankey, a residents’ organisation, said, “Children will run the risk of various health issues if the construction site is next door. Construction work is known to emit fine particulate matter such as PM 2.5 and PM 10. These particles can easily enter the respiratory tract and move into the bloodstream, causing health issues, experts say.
Opposing proposed flyover on Sankey Tank Bund Road in #Bengaluru by BBMP, around 2000 students in the Malleshwaram, Vyalikaval and Sadashivnagar area have mailed handwritten postcards to #Karnataka Chief Minister @BSBommai. (1/2)@the_hindu @THBengaluru pic.twitter.com/it5iSCujlD
— Darshan Devaiah B P (@DarshanDevaiahB) January 20, 2023
The Environmental Impact
While local residents have opposed the axing of trees, environmental experts have warned of “a serious ecological impact”, saying the tank bund will weaken because of tree-cutting.
Here’s a ground report of the impact of cutting trees, this city has witnessed:
What Do The Experts Say?
Radhika Prasad from Malleswaram Social said, “Greenery and trees are the cultures of Bengaluru. More than 40 decade-old trees in the heart of Malleswaram will be sacrificed for the BBMP’s proposed projects of Sankey Tank Bund Road widening and flyover. These proposed projects and cutting of trees will affect the ecosystem of Malleswarm.”
“According to the BBMP, the proposed flyover project will solve the traffic problem in this area. But, it is not true. The flyover project will create severe traffic jams and bottlenecks at Cauvery Junction. Most flyover projects in the city are creating the same bottleneck problem. Therefore, the BBMP should find an alternative,” she stated.
“There is a misconception that flyovers are an antidote to the city’s traffic ills. A flyover will only take you to the next congested intersection quickly. There were no public consultations,” said Divya Narayanan, campaigns director, Jhatkaa.Org.
“The approval for the construction of Sankey Road on the bund is a violation by itself. Now, losing 40 trees to further widen it will have serious implications for the environment,” Professor T V Ramachandra of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) said.
What Did The Residents Say?
Rekha Chari, president of the Malleswaram Swabhimana Initiative, who works for promoting a cleaner environment, said Sankey Tank gets filled to the brim during heavy rains and at times it has almost breached. “In such a situation, if we remove the green cover further, won’t the lake bund weaken as the soil loosens with the loss of tree cover? This will cause more harm than good,” she added.
“The real problem is that the city is growing and the vehicle density is increasing exponentially. In this situation, widening the road will only help reduce congestion for the next three to four years,” said Sharath Krishnamurthy, who has lived in the area for 16 years.
“The government should look at ways of incentivising public transport and other alternatives available instead of promoting such projects. The authorities can also plan a deviation through C N R Rao Road and Ballari Road,” Dr Rajan suggested.
Yes. The 6 lane flyover will get down at BDA junction.
Then the traffic from airport and Sankey road will pile up there.
— CityBuilderMan (@CityBuilderMan) January 17, 2023
There is no reason to build the flyover. If conduction starts it'll be terrible for 4-5 years of construction.
Then people will try to "solve" traffic in the magic box at Kaveri junction.
Everyone on Sankey road will suffer for at least the next 10 years.
— CityBuilderMan (@CityBuilderMan) January 15, 2023
I was stuck at the Seshadripuram railway bridge for 15 min today, all the traffic coming from the flyover and below the flyover culminates here and so the jam. So what is the point of the flyover ?? The same will happen at Sankey too @BBMPCOMM @drashwathcn #sankeyflyoverbeda pic.twitter.com/HRWDkydmMC
— rekha chari (@charirekha) January 20, 2023
Sankey road flyover will be as useless as the cauvery junction. It was better off when it was a normal road. Useless planning by unqualified individuals who have no expertise whatsoever. Turning a wonderful area into barren desert all in the name of development
— Sahana (@Sahanasatianaat) January 13, 2023
The project was first proposed in 2011 but had to be taken down due to heavy opposition. Will it receive the same fate or be completed at the cost of disapproval?