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Sarjapur road signal-free corridor saga

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On the 10th of the month, a set of mails were received on the "savekoramangala" yahoo-group from a prominent member of the community, alongwith drawings (and a list, which is attached), informing that the BDA is undertaking construction of flyovers and underpasses on Sarjapura Road (at junctions marked A, B,C & D in the map below), as part of the "Signal-free Corridor between Sirsi Circle and Agara".

Amongst other things, the mail stated:

I have been having informal meetings with BDA Engineers and have requested the Engineers to have a meeting with residents to explain the work and its likely temporary negative impact on Koramangala residents. I was assured that the Traffic Police have already been briefed and they have put in place a plan that will not have any impact on the traffic on internal roads in 3rd Block and 1st Block.

May I request you to please go through the plans and put your apprehensions on the e-group, so that the same can be taken up with BDA in a consolidated manner so that when they come for meeting with us, we can have answers. I believe one week is a good enough time to expect every ones points of apprehension. One thing we should be quite certain of in that the project has been sanctioned and is in its operational stage, so it might be much too late to question the necessity or usefulness of the project.

Some preliminary work has already started on sections of Sarjapura Road. During my last meeting, I was assured that the work will be taken up in such a manner that the traffic does not have to get either obstructed or diverted beyond opening up service roads on either side of Sarjapura Raod, till the completion of project. The time line for completion is 15 months +/- a month or two. Traffic police are on the ball on this as well.


On the very same day, I responded with "Please insist on their displaying scale models of all the junctions in the local BBMP office (or some suitable public place), alongside the technical drawings. Many details tend to get missed out otherwise".

A few others also expressed unease at the way the BDA was going about things. But, we were termed "pessimists" by the few who saw it as a positive development, to which I responded as under:

The pessimism stems out of the agencies' track records in executing such projects. How uncaring our BDA/ BBMP/ PWD lot can be to the needs of pedestrians can be seen clearly at the Domlur/ Indiranagar, Marathahalli, Krishnarajapurm fly-overs, which we at PRAJA have tried to bring out through blogs (with a lot pictures) accessible by clicking on the links provided. And, left to them, they are going to make the Sarjapur road junctions also as bad, if not worse.

I think we need to ask each of the officials to join us over a padayatra through all of these junctions to understand the problems first hand, which otherwise they fail to appreciate while wizzing past them in chauffeur-driven cars. We could also possibly ask them to first set right the wrongs already committed, to show their capability, if they have any, and then to work on fresh jobs.

Now, even if we don't want to think too much about how our maids, drivers, gardeners, etc manage their way around these edifices to catch a bus home, perhaps would at least like to think how members of our own immediate family would manage them when the need arises. Or, are we promoting a system where every member of our family, including extended ones, move around only in cars for every need of his/ hers? If so, will the present widening of roads and building of fly-overs be ever enough to accommodate the number of cars that are getting added at an exponentially increasing rate?


Besides, I don't think I quite agree with the idea of signal-free corridors across the city, like from Sirsi circle to Agara. Now, if at all it has to happen, it has to be well engineered, taking into consideration the interests of all the stake-holders. And, going by their track record, I don't think the government agencies have the capacity for that. Here I would like to pitch for the work being entrusted to the company owned by Mr Vivek Menon, who did the designing of the Vittal Mallya Road make-over (check this), and has now been engaged by the Brigade road shop-keepers assn to do a make-over of the entire stretch of their road. Mr Menon's company incidentally has engineered the real hi-tech Houston (USA) ring roads.

Nobody is against development - it's the kind of development that the debate is about. Repeatedly we are being told "project has been sanctioned and is in its operational stage, so it might be much too late to question the necessity or usefulness of the project" to push the project through. Details of such massive projects affecting every aspect of our life should have been made available to us at least a year in advance. I would say that we demand that even now, even if the current project gets delayed, so that such procedures become the practice in future.


I further added that no provision appears to have been made for the monorail line, which is supposed to pass along the very same route - check this

Apart from my objections, many people had specific objections over the detailings of almost all of the projects.

Finally, on the 23rd, a high level meeting was called by Sri Rajeev Chandrasekhar (he is a resident of Koramangala), which was attended by Mr Meena, Commissioner, BDA, Mr Siddiah, Commissioner, BBMP, Mr Saleem, Addl Commissioner of Police (Traffic), and a number of other officials, apart from a few 3rd block RWA representatives. Excerpts of the note sent out by a member who attended the meet is given below:
 
At the very outset, Rajeev made the following points:
1. The flyover/underpass issues need to be looked at in a holistic manner
2. Much of the traffic issues in Sarjapur Road are the result of junctions in Hosur Road which are not managed optimally.
3. Flowing from Sl No 2, the priority will be to first tackle Hosur Road, preferably with an elevated road which directly connects from the present Silk Board flyover and takes traffic past the Forum Mall intersection.
4. In the interim, the poorly designed underpass on Hosur Road (at the Masjid Junction) could be deepened to allow loaded buses to use it.
5. The entire object of any flyover/underpass exercise is to increase total road space available to road users not to further reduce it. As such the elevated solution appears the best option.
6. In case there is a perceived need for a solution along Sarjapur Road after the projects on Hosur Road are completed, an elevated road along Sarjapur Road from the Hosur Road intersection upto Agara would be the best for through traffic while allowing local traffic to continue to ply as usual at the lower grade level.
7. BBMP and BDA should work together instead of at cross-purposes to provide optimal solutions to problems.
 
There was a general consensus that Hosur Road junctions particularly the Total Mall junction and the Madivala checkpost junction (intersection of Hosur Road and Sarjapur Road) need the grade separator work urgently to streamline flow of interstate traffic through these junctions.
 
In the interim, while the best course of action is being worked out, work to cease on all 4 junctions immediately. This was agreed to by both the BBMP and the BDA commissioners present at the meeting. After the meeting, an inspection was held at the underpass in question on Hosur Road.
 
Our grateful thanks and heartfelt appreciation to Rajeev Chandrasekhar for taking the initiative to bring together the heads of the BBMP and the BDA and taking a giant step towards getting these agencies to understand our problems.

 
I would now like to make a request to all of you -- we would need to stay ever vigilant in case there is any attempt on the part of the authorities to go back on the commitments they have made and start work in an attempt to present a fait accompli. In that case, it may become necessary for a group of us to take direct action and go in a group to the site and stop activity. We are not talking of a hypothetical here. The same story has happened in a lot of other places. We will therefore shortly be sending out an email asking those of you who are willing to do this in case we are pushed to the wall by deceit to give us your cell numbers in case short notice mobilization should become necessary.
 

Referring to the comment "the poorly designed underpass on Hosur Road (at the Masjid Junction)", I further added

The story of poor design is repeating everywhere. Some of the edifices engineered by our BBMP/ BDA engineers and their consultants are marvels that will find entry even in the Guiness book of records for their uniqueness of design, like the Cauvery theater junction underpass, with its unique U-turn for the for-ever busy Bellary road; the Richmond road flyover, which for long had traffic lights on top, etc, to name just a few. And, all the pedestrian underpasses built recently at the Basaveswara circle and KR circle have been shut more or less permanently on account of flooding, apart from various other problems.

This morning, enroute to Kaikondanahalli (near Total Mall on Sarjapur road) lake and back, I was observing the pedestrian facilities, rather the lack of them, at the recently commissioned Agara and Sarjapur road cross fly-over junctions. They are also as pathetic as at Domlur/ Indiranagar, Marathahalli and K R Puram.

Isn't it time therefore that the sections handling these jobs within BDA and BBMP are totally wound up, and the jobs outsourced to professional outfits, like the ones who did the Vittal Mallya road?

And yes, it's time the citizens asserted their rights than allowing themselves to be lorded over by the neta-babu combo.

Muralidhar Rao
 

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Comments

sanjayv's picture

Sarjapur road signal free corridor joke

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Wow, wow, wow. I got a good laugh out of reading this post. Couple of short comments.

  1. BDA's record with flyover design is a joke. I have seen enough "DPRs" and drawings. They just churn out cut and paste reports with poor data and design. If you see the crotique we did on Agara and Sarjapur flyovers here. Almost every shortcoming pointed out has been proven correct.
  2. You willl also notice the tenders are awarded to NCC. They are the ones executing the current set of flyovers on outer ring road. The flyovers officially commenced in Sept 2009 with a 15 month timeframe. Where are we now on schedule? Currently it is the 24th month from official date of commencement,  of course, actual construction only started by Dec-Jan, but things are still behind schedule accounting for that delta. 
Vasanth's picture

What will happen to proposed monorail on the same route?

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There was a proposed monorail from Majestic to Agara on the same route. IDD is not going forward with any of these MRT proposals and in those alignments BDA is constructing flyovers and underpasses attracting more and more vehicles.

Monorail proposals have become a routine announcements to IDD without any finalization.

idontspam's picture

Even simple things like hosur

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Even simple things like hosur road & bellary road widening that they have already set out to do they have not completed, not to mention all the unnecessary flyover/underpass work that lie in various stages of incompletion across the city. Work at the palace grounds compound is going on for more than a year now, they must be ashamed they cant lay a road on plain land in 1 year. Useless bunch of incompetent people pass of as administrators

murali772's picture

monorail dumped?

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Going by the Deccan Herald report linked in this comment, it appears the government led "Scomi Geodesic Consortium" up the garden path until the 28th June. And, now it seems the government has dumped them. Perhaps the sweeteners offered to the powers that be were not sweet enough?

Or, is BDA's vision so blinkered that it can't see beyond its nose?

Muralidhar Rao
Vasanth's picture

Looks nobody working in IDD nowadays

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It seems nobody working in IDD nowadays. We used to listen some announcements on the monorail front. Nowadays nothing on this front. Bangalore is getting vehicles oriented and not transit oriented. Except for the Phase 1 Metro, everything is built for vehicles such as this signal free corridor proposal, Silkboard - Hebbal Signal free corridor, Hosur Road's BETL, Nayandahalli Flyover.

murali772's picture

the proper sequence?

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Last week, a meeting of people who supported the Sankey Tank activity, Greenpeace Volunteers, and others from other NGOs was supposed to happen, and a HU member floated the following for discussion there:

The application of the KTCP with public consultation is a good aim but even this type of consultation should be taken up ONLY after the Govt has exhausted all other possibilities to improve traffic flow and decongest roads:
 
Govt should first be urged to decongest by sequentially carrying out following:
 

  • First  Implement Metro and hence help citizens get out of their pvt cars ( for our size of city we could need about 100-120 kms of track minimum). Govt to give serious thought to next phase of Metro being underground to a large extent. ( Chennai has 50% UG in Phase 1)
  • IMplement BRT on selected corridoors.
  • Implement area based intelligent traffic ctl systems such as SCOOT ( used in UK and Europe)
  • After the above , impose congestion tax on pvt vehicles in selected areas.
  • Collect parking fees by designatng certain areas and roads for limited time parking. Use the funds to improve pavements, green the roads.

 
All of the above could take upto 10-15 years at least. It is only after studying the effects of above that Govt should take a view on whether to widen any road at all within the area circumscribed by the ORR. Till then no pvt or public property or open space should be acquired.
 
At this stage the KTCP Act consultation process can start for any road that may in opinion of Govt need widening.



I responded with:

While these suggestions are all very fine, what is most glaring here is the omission of any suggestion at improving the bus services. If the reason for that is BMTC's incorrigibility, which is understandable, why is it that we have to have to give up on the bus, the most cost effective and eco-friendly mode of public transportation?

I can understand (though not appreciate) the stance of the die-hard public sector monopolists. But, what about the others?

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Aren't we equally to blame?

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The shocking aspect of this entire episode is brought out in this exchange between me and the "prominent member" (PM) who put out the info on the y-group first:

PM: information that I got from BDA accidentally while pursuing Junction Improvements in Koramangala. I probed further, all on my own and finally got the drawings from them

Me : This is where every thing is wrong in the very first place. Why were they holding back the details till the very last? Yes, there had been talk of these corridors from sometime, but largely in the media. No details were known to us. And, without the detals, what is one to contest against? Finally, when the details are drawn up, they then hold it all close to their chest. And, had you not chanced on them "accidentally", we wouldn't have known a thing till the day they started digging around. And, then we will be told that it's too late to make any changes.

Can we accept this kind of an approach of the officialdom in today's world when the talk from long has been about decision making through public consultations? I thought the biggest lesson from the Anna movement was assertion of "people power". Perhaps, we need to make the beginning here.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

The battle is on

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we would need to stay ever vigilant in case there is any attempt on the part of the authorities to go back on the commitments they have made and start work in an attempt to present a fait accompli.

The above was what the 3rd block association secretary had mentioned in his earlier mail. And, quite as feared, the BDA honchos and their patrons were obviously not going to sit quiet after possibly having collected part of their cuts in advance from the contractor. The action resumed on Monday, the very day after the string of Pooja holidays.

The 3rd block association has decided it is not going to just sit and watch (supported by many from other associations too), and the Secretary promptly sent out the following mail:

Much against the promises made to us, BDA and the contractors concerned have started work at the Sarjapur road 7th main junction.

Today (11th Oct) a group of us were present at the 7th main - Sarjapur road cross at 9.30 am. A deep 20 ft trench had been dug the previous day. The JCBs are now silent. We have received information that the BDA commissioner has been spoken to and asked to stop work.

Nevertheless, this is only the opening skirmish. We are now parallelly doing the following keeping in mind that there will be a high level meeting called by the CM's office at the end of this week on this issue. What we are doing is therefore
1. Trying to hold all work till the end of the week.
2. Speaking to all who can influence the process so that the end of week meeting yields the right results.
3. Preparing for a fall back strategy in case we are unsuccessful.

In the meanwhile request all of you to be prepared to come forward to support these steps in whatever way you can.

This is vital for the future of our community. It is not enough to hope we prevail. We will have to win.

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

BDA did a U-turn on flyover

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BDA did a U-turn on flyover project?

The residents on Tuesday alleged that after lying low for two weeks, the BDA has resumed the work, which is being carried on at night.

murali772's picture

Elevated Corridors

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If the State Government approves the Bangalore Development Authority’s (BDA) plan to construct elevated corridors in busy areas, traffic congestion in city could soon be a thing of past. BDA Commissioner Bharath Lal Meena said, “We have prepared the ground work and are conducting a study before submitting the proposal to the government. The study might take a few of months, and if approved, the project will cost more than Rs 2,000 crore. It can be completed within 24 months, if we distribute the work among different construction companies, and award time-bound contracts.”

The second corridor will start at Agara and pass through Koramangala, Bangalore Dairy Circle, Lalbagh and end at Sirsi Circle on Mysore Road.


For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here.

Whatever, this option would be better than grade level disruptions in already crowded areas. But, aren't there even better options, like improved public transport services, side by side with disincentives for usage of personalised forms of transport?

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

But, aren't there even better

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All these need to go underground. It will just kill the whole city especially when other countries are taking down these elevated eyesores. Hebbal to Highgrounds is already signal free & 8 lanes wide(including service lanes). What more do we want? 16 lanes? What happens at high grounds? Traffic magically dissapears?

But, aren't there even better options, like improved public transport services, side by side with disincentives for usage of personalised forms of transport?

These need courage to take head on. Mr Shankarlinge Gowda clearly said in reply to my question at the Volvo award event that the time for congestion charging in the form of cordon pricing is 2015 or 2016. Till 2015 its free for all @1400 new vehicles per day all plying on the roads. Hopefully atleast planning can start now & we be ready for 2015 which is not too far away.

How long we will play catchup with roadspace has to be a bold decision made with target vehicle numbers in hand & strategies to keep them to that number. Check out this video on how Netherlands played catchup with roadspace before reversing the whole thing. Learn from China & other Far East nations on how they are unable to control vehicle growth. Like Mr Gowda hinted, peoples attitudes have to change. I believe we have to find a way to load the negative externalities of the toys we want to posses on to it.

murali772's picture

listen here to Mr Ford

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And, listen here to none other than Bill Ford himself, at a TED conference

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Here is an example of how the

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Here is an example of how the big worm highway in sao paolo is set to go underground.

murali772's picture

And, now the fraud

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Attached to the opening post now is a second word document comprising of a series of select mails, from out of a thread, posted on the subject on the SaveKoramangala Y-group, on the subject. As will become evident to you, this is nothing but plain fraud sought to be perpetrated on the community, and the tax payers in general, by the BDA and associates.

Being a bit lengthy, I chose the option of adding as a separate attachment.

Muralidhar Rao
sanjayv's picture

Email extracts

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Murali sir, your latest email extract just confirms what I have said earlier in this thread.

"BDA's record with flyover design is a joke. I have seen enough "DPRs" and drawings. They just churn out cut and paste reports with poor data and design"

The data is bogus or poor quality, assumptions are many and design is non-existent.

flanker's picture

Traffic to/from Sarjapur is

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Traffic to/from Sarjapur is definitely going to increase in next few years. If anyone is thinking that diverting this traffic to Silkboard will solve the problem, they are wrong. Silkboard can not handle existing traffic itself. Either elevated road (preferable) or underpasses really needed on the proposed stretch of Koramangala.

.

murali772's picture

Koramangala spared the Tagore circle fate

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The following mail exchanges on "savekoramangala" y-group over the last week discusses what I would consider a people's victory over the not-so-subtle moves of the powers that be, fronted by the local MLA and the BDA, for imposing on the Koramangala citizens a series of ill-conceived and poorly designed fly-overs and underpasses over a 3 km stretch of the Sarjapur road, estimated to cost some Rs 120 cr. If not for the determination shown by a some residents (I would like to name Dr Radhakrishnan, Vijayan Menon, and Nitin Seshadri specifically), we would perhaps have had a repeat of the Tagore circle, National College circle, C N R Rao circle fiasco's here too. Yes, Mr Rajeev Chandrasekhar (a Koramangala esident) played an important role. But, whatever, without the right kind of leadership amongst the residents this could not have been achieved. And, of course, the CM deserves the credit due to him too.

And, hopefully, this can become a trend setter in citizen participation in the planning process for various aspects of the development of the city/ state.

The unfortunate part, in my opinion, is the desperation amongst certain sections of well-meaning citizens to be seen to be politically correct (as for the marauders, I am not too concerned). Taken too far, like in this case, it sends out very wrong signals, perpetuating the thinking amongst the marauderous sections of the powers that be that they should try out a different trick next time, instead of using the opportunity to put the fear of God into them for having even attempted this. Let's hope better sense prevails in future.

It commences with this mail from Mr Nitin Seshadri, Secretary, 3rd Block RWA:

Dear All - This evening a group of 5 of us were invited to attend a meeting called by the Hon'ble Chief Minister, Shri Sadananda Gowda, at his office at 6.00 PM. From Koramangala, I attended along with Dr. Radhakrishnan, Alick, Vijayan Menon & Major Promod Kapur. From the Government side, the attendee list included Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP, Shri Ravindra, Shri Meena, Commissioner (BBMP), Mr. Saleem Addl Commr Police (Traffic), Shri Prasad, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and representatives from the project consultants, contractor, AbidE etc.

The meeting was facilitated through the good offices of Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar

At the start of the meeting, we were called to give our presentation first. We made a ten minute presentation summarizing in brief all the problems with the project. We ended by requesting the Chief Minister to use his good offices to order a review of the project, consider the Koramangala traffic problems in their totality and prioritize work by concentrating on developing elevated corridors on two key arterial roads -- Hosur Road & 100' IRR. Sarjapur Road being a sub-arterial road, could be taken up later if need be.


The BDA Commissioner made a brief presentation in reply and when the Engineer Member BDA started going into details, the Chief Minister's secretary said that micro level details were not necessary and requested Mr. Saleem to give Traffic Police's point of view. Mr. Saleem told the Chief Minister that while these projects were all well, they would not serve long term traffic needs in the area. For long term needs an elevated corridor would be much better. The cost difference was highlighted -- the Chief Minister said that he would undertake a review of the various possibilities including looking at the financial aspects of the Elevated corridor after the Assembly session is concluded.

As an aside, we now have got in writing from the BDA that the elevated corridor idea is very much feasible technically. You will recall that just a few days ago, the engineers were singing a very different tune. We have a copy of the BDA presentation to the CM in which they have conceded this.


Until the CM takes the time to review all details of the project, the project stands halted and will stay that way until the review at the CM's level is completed. We asked for permission to interact with the BDA and work out an acceptable solution and the CM asked us to go ahead.

This is a great victory for all residents of Koramangala. Although a number of people worked hard on this, a special word of thanks is due to the all the task force members representing Koramangala.

A very special word of thanks to Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar and his foundation, Namma Bengaluru Foundation, for facilitating the meeting with the Chief Minister. Without his intervention, we could not have succeeded.

I must say that all of us were surprised at the way the Chief Minister in spite of his busy schedule gave us such a patient hearing and was extremely attentive to all the issues being raised.


To succeed, we commissioned a traffic survey at key junctions in Koramangala. The costs of the survey are Rs. 1.50 Lakhs and although Rajeev's foundation (NBF) has come forward to fund Rs. 1 Lakh, the residents of Koramangala need to pool together to raise Rs. 50000 to collect money to fund the survey. We would therefore like to request individual Koramangalites to come forward to contribute what they can towards this expense to ensure that we meet the commitment. Believe me, it has been money well spent because it was with this survey backing that we were able to make our case before the CM.

NS further adds:

Dear All - It has become the fashion nowadays to criticize politicians in our comfortable drawing rooms.
 
It is worth noting however, the positive contributions made by our own elected representatives during the flyover/underpass saga. Our MLA, Shri Ramalinga Reddy has been proactively involved in arranging meetings between residents and BDA from Day 1 and has been always available as a valuable bridge between residents and officials throughout this process. Our Lok Sabha MP, Shri Ananth Kumar and Rajya Sabha MP, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar played a key role in speaking to the Chief Minister's office and arranging the convening of a meeting on this issue. Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar's  foundation has also taken an active part in this issue.


FC:
Yes I totally agree that our elected reps be it Ramalinga Reddy, Rajeev Chandrashekar and Ananthkumar have done a great job in taking the entire flyover saga to this level, but the efforts and leadership shown by our MLA Ramalinga Reddy right from the day 1 in getting the BDA to sit with us and getting the negotiations done is truly noteworthy.
 
Me:
@ Nitin  -  Apart from providing the excellent lead, you also seem to have mastered the art of making politically correct statements - all very essential traits for a future in politics - seriously! And, like we keep saying in LokSatta - "the answer to bad politics is not no to politics - it is good politics; and, politics can become good, if the right people enter politics". So, in the next round of elections, can we hopefully have you as the people's (LokSatta, if you choose to) candidate, assuming Koramangala is an open constituency (not artificially reserved).

MK:
Dear NS - What you have said is absolutely correct when seen in an all inclusive perspective.

I do believe that we must acknowledge the positives, from which ever quarter they come from. A lot of things have changed in Koramangala since the last assembly elections - most for the good and the roles played by Mr. Ramalinga Reddy and Mr. Rajeev Chandrashekhar are truly worthy of recognition and acknowledgement. I also believe that in a democracy the connect between the electors and elected is something that we must constantly build and nurture because interdependence is inherent for a healthy and productive working environment. After all our concerns are common. If there has been a positive outcome in the present case, credit must also go to Mr. Rajeev Chandrashekhar, who spearheaded and mentored our effort and to Mr. Ramalinga Reddy for facilitating the interaction with the officials and giving us a platform to put across our misgivings to BDA.

Thanks for articulating the 'unsung' side of the saga. We shall continue to interact closely with Mr Rajeev Chandrashekhar (MP), Mr. Ramalinga Reddy (MLA), Mr. Ananth Kumar (MP) and his secretary Mr. Narayan Gambhir.

VM:
I personally could be rightfully accused of being hyper critical of our local elected representatives ie,MLAs and corporators. However, it is also important to give an accurate picture to the members of this e group.
 
I do not think there is any doubt , that the role being played by some of the local elected reps has been  highly questionable. and this has come up for discussion in internal meeting and is therefore not just a solitary view from my side.
 
-While on one side  , giving a public stance that  they are backing the citizen's protest , on the other side being a conduit more for pushing bda engineers mildly tweaked designs.
-No real appreciation of the problem put down by citizens of the overall impact , but only interested in how to get the the current contract thro with minor tweaks.
( please understand that the stance we have taken is that the overall project needs to be revisited ,.with solid technical data from our side.)

 
Under these circumstances , as much as my dribble about bad elected reps could be offensive to some , even more so is the comments of "exemplary leadership shown by MLA" obnoxious.
 
Maybe i am wrong in painting a villain picture, but would protest equally strongly in giving "hero status "   and more importantly , a clear message needs to  go out that there is a severe doubt as to the role they are playing.

 
RS:
Honestly I thought ill let this pass but I am in complete agreement with VM having seen the back door machinations of all these guys and the front door façade they put before us .. I have been briefing a few members on the back door work  and will second third and fourth what is written below.. and trust me obnoxiuous is too mildly put.

JS:
In a public meeting in 4th Block, I had acknowledged our beloved MLA Shri. Ramalinga Reddy for something I had not seen with any of his predecessors – visiting and meeting residents in Koramangala and even noting specific complaints for Redressal. This is indeed a laudable and welcome change.

However, we haven’t seen him since. Though some of the work did get done!

But to call this exemplary leadership is tends towards behaviour better described as the Stockholm Syndrome at the very least and certainly does not take into account the many factors that must be our guide.

Acknowledging and applauding good work is fine; setting it as a benchmark is quite another thing.

 

The following is an older set of exchanges, which I am adding to highlight the keenness of the MLA to push the project through somehow. And, for all that, there are people who still want to shower accolades on him.

Again, it starts with this mail from Nitin Seshadri:

Dear All - Today a meeting was arranged with the BDA engineers to review "new" drawings on the Sarjapur Road junctions. Meeting was held at the MLAs residence. Those attending were Alick & I from 3rd Block and Col.Madappa, representing 1st Block.

The salient points are as follows:
1. Changes made are minor -- Interchange of underpass & flyover at the Water tank signal (which is a matter of technical detailing) and an expansion of service road width from 5.5 m to 7.5 m on the Sarjapur Road at the water tank signal.
2. Service road width is still retained at 5.5 m on the 100 ft road side of the Water tank junction.
3. Diversion of bus traffic on service road will be there even on this plan. Further bus traffic will have to stop at a traffic light. BDA wants to allow a further additional right turn from 8th Main onto Sarjapur Road which will mean further back up of bus traffic
4. At the Krupanidhi junction there is 1 obvious bottleneck and 1 extremely dangerous feature:
(a) One point where the road width converges from 11' to 5'9" within a short distance of 150 metres (just outside Krupanidhi college)
(b) One point where vehicles on a slip road will have the slip road width cut from 5.5 metres to 2 metres within a distance of less than 25 metres which will mean that drivers will have 1 second approx to merge into high speed traffic from the underpass or hit a concrete barrier.
5. BDA claims the elevated road concept is technically not feasible. Reasons given were that there would be no provision possible for entry & exit ramps at each junction. It was pointed out that entry and exit ramps were not required at each junction since the purpose of the elevated road was to take through traffic. This was countered with the rather strange logic that through traffic going towards Agara on Sarjapur Road would be only 20 % of total traffic. If that is indeed the case, why have a Sirsi-Agara corridor at all ?

We have taken a copy of the drawing and asked for a week's time to study in greater detail and record our objections.

Technically speaking, the objections raised by the BDA on the elevated flyover proposal are flimsy. We will be going through the drawing in greater detail over the weekend and in the meantime, we propose to have a copy made and placed at the 3rd Block park library for those who may be interested to look at it.

This is not old wine in new bottles. This is old wine now gone rancid served in the same old bottle !


DR:
Thanx for that Nitin. Also let me point out that the traffic study reveals that this junction improvement will die the day this project is finished!! this is because the volume of traffic passing thru will already be far greater than what the design is meant for. Also this will mean traffic piling on top of the flyover, again a very dangerous situation, as we are informed that this will weaken the structure.

Also a 5.5 m slip road at BDA will mean that the vehicles will turn into the bye lanes of 3 rd block as our crosses will be wider than the slip,road!! We can all kiss our homes good bye. Those living on and conducting business on 1 st cross will now be left without a postal address, as 1 st cross will cease to exist!! Also no parking will be allowed outside your homes, and trying to get out of our homes will mean being in the way of a Volvo bus travelling at 70 kph.

This is a plan that is being rammed down our throats by some vested interests. We must unite and stop this monster.


VM:
What concerns me,but does not surprise,is the role of our elected reps.they r either absent altogether or asking us to adjust madi with newer and newer iterations of the flyover plans.if they were actually batting for us,then they should know that each of bdas iterations is just as bad.it would seem elected reps want this project to go thro as much as bda.u can guess the reasons.

Me:
The elected representatives seem to have commitments mainly to contractors from whom threy have apparently taken huge monies to fight elections. It shows out clearly when the interests clash. Well, it's time we said enough is enough, and changed the rules of the game.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

a few lessons learnt

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Members of the task force decided to collect information through RTI applications from BDA and BBMP. Applications seeking information such as Detailed Project Reports (DPRs), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and traffic study reports were filed.

The results were quite a revelation. The traffic study, based on which the projects were conceived, were outdated and suspect - to the extent that the BDA could not defend it and was forced to commission a new study. The new survey now shows radically different numbers.


For the full report in Citizen Matters, click here

Plenty of lessons for RWA's. Hopefully, this sets a new trend for the future.

Muralidhar Rao
flanker's picture

through traffic 20%?

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"through traffic going towards Agara on Sarjapur Road would be only 20 % of total traffic"?

In 5 years Sarjapur is going to be "the happeneing place". And there is traffic towards the Maratahalli ORR. Where did this only 20% came from?

I hope if they come up with elevated coridor, it will have a ramp directly joining the Agara flyover.

murali772's picture

may be time to bring CiSTUP into the picture

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A spokesperson of the group posted as follows a couple of days back:

It was reported yesterday by some alert residents that work was going on at Aishwarya junction. Since the CM meet and the instruction to stop work, we have had meetings with the BDA and are in the process of reworking the plans.

Anyway a few residents went to the spot and encountered the Nagarjuna construction manager who was supervising the digging. He was very rude and informed us that work would continue come what may. We rang the BDA officials who categorically informed us that no permission had been given to restart work.

By 6 30 pm we went back to the spot to find that the Nagarjuna chaps had left along with the JCB. However,a further 15 feet of the road had been dug. we therefore went to the Madivala police station and filed a complaint. A letter has been handed over to the BDA comm, informing him of the events of yesterday.

We would request all residents to please be vigilant and report any future activity in the area.


Apparently, the contractor is desperate.

I have suggested to the group that they should perhaps bring CiSTUP into the picture, particularly with it apparently having built the requisite capacity for such exercises now - check this

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

right choice?

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An elevated corridor modelled on the lines of the one in the picture (connecting domestic and international terminals at the SantaCruz airport in Mumbai, built by L&T ), which allows both space and light below (at grade), could perhaps provide the right answer.

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Elevated from where to where?

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Elevated from where to where? What about exits? What are the traffic numbers on this road?

If you do elevated from Hosur road to ORR it will need interchanges at both ends as otherwise it will not make sense. Additionally it will at a bare minimum need interchanges at 100 ft road & Madivala road intersections. OTOH synchronization of signals or magic boxes can service the 20% thru traffic. You will have 4 junctions to bypass 100ft road, Madivala rd, 7th main & 14th main. rest of the joins can be fenced off. BUt traffic will have to face massive signals at both (hosur rd & ORR) ends which defeats the purpose of a signal free stretch. What signal free corridor is this short stretch feeding into BTW? Is this an extension of the ORR signal free? Then why does it end at a signal on Hosur road? All the traffic will back up on to the road any at this end.

murali772's picture

from IRR to Hosur road

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@IDS  -  If I understand correctly, what the 3rd block assn members (who are in the forefront of the exercise) are suggesting is to provide an elevated corridor linking IRR (before the Egipura signal) and Hosur road (the link up on Hosur road will certainly be a major challenge).

Their contention is that that, and the traffic flow on the Hosur road (from Adugodi/ Dairy circle to Silkboard), are the bigger problems than the traffic flow on the Sarjapur road.

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

can we map this, we seem to

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can we map this, we seem to be talking 2 different roads

Naveen's picture

Koramangala mess beyond repair now

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In my opinion, the mess in Koramangala is unresolvable due to many reasons - very high volume of commercialization (offices & malls), heavy traffic, parked vehicles & vehicles moving in /out from various establishments along 100-ft rd & both 80-ft rds, too many inter-connecting rds at very short intervals leading to cutting on lanes, one ways, etc.

IRR as well as Sarjapur rd, not to mention the two 80-ft rds, & all the interconnecting rds such as 8th main, 7th cross, market rd, masjid rd etc make a cocktail that is impossible to untangle, save for hevay restrictions on vehicle use.

The ideal solution would have been monorail along both Sarjapur rd & along IRR, as suggested by Scomi instead of elevated rds either on IRR or on Sarjapur rd.

Much of the traffic is local or mall /office bound. So, putting an elevated section either on IRR or Sarjapur rd will not address the problems below.

Also, See this

vmenon's picture

lots of hope for koramangala

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Obviously koramangalites have lots of hope .otherwise they would not have been in the forefront on fights on Masterplan and sakrama.it is probably just that these things effect us more than other areas.but more important than a solution blogged online,be it monorai,flyovers,elevated rds etc,is the questioning of the process by which these decisions r made.never with the consultations of local community.now thats a battle worth fighting.
idontspam's picture

is the questioning of the

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is the questioning of the process by which these decisions r made.never with the consultations of local community.now thats a battle worth fighting.

Absolutely agree

.but more important than a solution blogged online

Err... you dont want solution? Especially one blogged online?

vmenon's picture

solution

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Had not said "dont want solution",just that process is more important.
murali772's picture

HC stays work

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The Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to stop work on the 9.7-km Sirsi Circle-Agara signal-free corridor project until further orders. - - - The Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, passed the interim order on a petition filed by the Citizen's Action Forum and residents' welfare associations complaining that work on the project has commenced only at Koramangala area when the feasibility study and detailed project report (DPR) are incomplete. The court will hear the petition again on March 6. - - - - Petitioners contend Rs. 119-crore project would benefit only builders and developers.

For the full report in the Hindu, click here. For the report in the ToI, click here

Muralidhar Rao
srinidhi's picture

HC lifts stay..

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With the HC lifting the stay it had granted on February 27, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) can now continue the construction of four underpasses and a flyover at four junctions — Sarjapur Road to Madivala Road, St John’s Hospital Road to Koramangala 100 Feet Road, Koramangala 80 Feet Road, and Jakkasandra — located along the corridor.

more here 

murali772's picture

CiSTUP in the picture

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Clarifications from the RWA secretary:

There have been a lot of questions regarding the status of the court case regarding the Sarjapur Road projects in the light of the newspaper reports this morning. Some of the newspaper reports were wrong and misleading. This is to clear the air.
 
The sequence of events legally in this case were as follows:
 
1. The case first came up for hearing on 27th Feb 2012. On that date, after hearing arguments from our counsel, the court granted a stay. However, when dictating the order, unfortunately, the following wording was incorporated into the stay order:
"According to the Petitioners, they have been informed by the Officials of the Bangalore Development Authority, that no contract has been awarded till date. If that is so, the contractors, who have commenced digging, must not be permitted to continue this activity".
 
However our lawyers did not make any such averment in court.
 
2. Our lawyers should have applied to the court and got the language altered. However, they (and us) were in retrospect too complacent. The stay was honoured by the BDA until the court hearing on the 28th March.
 
3. On the hearing on the 28th, the counsel for the BDA informed the court that there were already work contracts awarded on the junctions. The Chief Justice then looked at the text of the stay order and then told the BDA that in which case according to the text of the order in writing issued on the 27th of February, they were free to proceed with work already contracted.
 
4. No fresh order has been issued by the judge on the 28th of March according to information available to us.
 
5. The judge has made it clear that the case still continues. The news reports that the "Sirsi Agara Corridor has been cleared" are therefore misleading and erroneous.
 
6. However, it is undeniable we have suffered a setback and are now looking at legal avenues to address this.
 
Thanks and best regards.

Another interesting development is that, in the meanwhile, the BDA has on its own approached CiSTUP for an assessment of thier proposal, and CiSTUP is already on the job. So, it's unlikely that the BDA is going to be green-flagging the resumption of the work right away. The RWA is also proposing to make a submission to the court on these lines.

And, now that CiSTUP is officially in the picture, the people of Koramangala can perhaps rest assured that, in which ever way the development proceeds, their basic interests will be safeguarded.
 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

all for the contractors; people be damned

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"Putting the initial conditional stay order and the submission duly recorded in court, the BDA has commenced preliminary work on two junctions. However, it is important to note that contrary to the disinformation spread on this subject in the press by the BDA, the stay on the rest of the project has not been lifted. Neither has the matter been disposed of or any orders passed", representatives of RWAs said.

"Further the Chief Justice made it very clear that any work undertaken by the BDA is without prejudice to the case which is still being heard. The matter is still very much sub-judice," they said.

"In the submissions made by the BDA before the Chief Justice, it was specifically mentioned in a sworn affidavit that the BDA would not be acquiring land for any of the 4 junctions on Sarjapur Road. Just three days after this submission in court, on March 31, the BDA served land acquisition notices on Indian Institute of Astrophysics and St. John's Medical College and Hospital. Residents intend to raise this issue before the Hon'ble High Court," they said.

"In the meantime, the BDA have also been in touch with a premier infrastructure planning body to consult on this project. BDA, in spite of the submissions made before the court, are themselves persuaded that some of the issues regarding the project need to be re-looked at. The report of the infrastructure planning agency is still awaited," they added.


It is difficult to see why there is an unseemly rush to somehow start the work even without a final plan in place. The serious problems pointed out with the project are not going away. Failure to look at these will result in another Richmond Circle type fiasco - right in the heart of Koramangala.

For the full report in the City Plus, click here.

The RWA spokesperson is being very polite when he says that 'it is difficult to see why there is an unseemly rush to somehow start the work". Well, don't we all know the reasons? Very plainly, our democracy seems to be just of the contractors, for the contractors, and by the contractors; people be damned.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

CM misled

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The CM was misled into participating in the "bhoomi pooja" held at the site this morning, organised almost overnight by the protagonists - check this (ToI ad).

While some 25 citizens representing various RWA's of Koramangala, who had come to the site to express their opposition to the scheme, were cordoned off by the police, the CM, who had perhaps been sounded about the presence of the protestors, broke protocol to come over and meet them first, even before getting on with the pooja. After hearing them out briefly, he extended an invitation to them for detailed discussions immediately after his return from his Delhi tour, on the 3nd May.

This aspect of the CM needs to be commended.

Muralidhar Rao
vsquaretech's picture

saves

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yes, this will save plenty of time on travel

Ravi_D's picture

BDA starts work again, cutting 32 trees..

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From this DH Report:

"In its hurry to implement the signal-free project in the City, the BDA felled 32 trees in Koramangala on Saturday. The BDA is planning an underpass at the St John’s Hospital junction as part of the project." 

Report continues to talk about subsequent protests by the residents, and how CMs proposed meeting never materialised. BBMP (!!!!) apparently (temporarily?) stopped BDA.

 

murali772's picture

Update on the matter from RWA secretary

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Following the protest yesterday and the intervention of our Corporator, Smt Kokila Radhakrishna, a group of us met the Engineer Member of the BDA, Sri Chikkarayappa along with our Corporator. Sri Chikkarayappa informed us that he has given immediate written instructions to the contractor to immediately stop all activity on the road. He also informed us that he can be informed immediately in case there is any activity taking place. He told us that the felling of trees was not done by the BDA but by the contractor (NCC) who was presumably unaware of the CM's instructions. We can however take this with a big pinch of salt. If anyone sees work happening anywhere from tomorrow morning, please let us know at once so that we can intervene and stop it immediately.

Well, 40 of our precious trees have gone. Whatever, there now appears to be a greater determination amongst the residents to take the fight to the end. This is not the kind of development Bangalore needs. And hopefully, the fight will convey the right message to the politicos behind this.

Muralidhar Rao
srinidhi's picture

may the force be with you

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Hope the team will be able to thrash out all design issues before the work can start..all including traffic flows, slip roads, drains, lighting, foot paths, etc

Most important, planting of the trees back!

dvsquare's picture

BDA Manipulates tender and even auction papers

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I am just reproducing communication from Mr. Nitin (active member from koramangala towards civic issues) to let you all aware of the real situation.
 
--------
 
Please see the links to Deccan Herald and DNA articles on the subject today.
 

What BDA has done is a scam. Here is what happened:
 
1. First BDA (or its contractor) cuts the trees. No work orders were issued. We have sources who tell us it was done on "oral orders" issued by the erstwhile BDA Commissioner, Bharat Lal Meena.
2. We then held a big protest on 27th May against this.
3. On 28th May, BBMP writes to BDA pointing out they have not followed procedures and withdrawing permission.
4. On 29th May, BDA hastily floats tenders to dispose of the cut trees. Only problem -- all the trees had already been disposed of on 25th and 26th May.
5. On 8th June, an "auction" is conducted to sell the trees. The "winner" already pre-determined of course bids the princely price of Rs. 23500 for 50 tonnes of timber from 34 trees.
 
I leave it to all of you to decide what is the commercial price of timber, and whether this rampant abuse, forgery etc should be tolerated.
 
--------
murali772's picture

Huge victory for citizens

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In the words of the 3rd block assn Secretary:

Developments today in High Court in the PIL against BDA, BBMP

  1. Court records the submission of the BDA counsel that the Chief Minister has already constituted a committee to go into the grievances of the citizens regarding the projects.Court orders that until the Committee submits its report and the Government takes a decision on the report, no further work will be permitted.
  2. The Committee is to have its first meeting by 13th August. Committee will give its findings in by 15th September. Government to take a decision by 5th October.
  3. Petitioner's representative to be invited to present case before the Committee.
  4. Government to advertise in papers inviting all members of the public with an interest in the project to attend the Committee proceedings and depose before it. Any people interested must be given a chance to present case before the committee.
  5. Based on the above orders, the PIL is accordingly disposed of. In case of any violation of orders and any new developments, petitioners free to approach court again by a fresh PIL
  6. Petitioners have been requested by court to withdraw the contempt case filed against BDA and its erstwhile commissioner in the interests of amicable discussions.

This is a huge victory for citizens participation in the decision making process and will serve as a precedent for the future for any other projects.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

triumph for citizen activism

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In what could be a shot in the arm for civic activism in Bangalore, a government-appointed high-level committee has recommended the shelving of the proposed Sirsi Circle-Agara lake signal-free corridor project on Sarjapur Road. The committee has suggested that civic agencies should instead develop Hosur Road and Sarjapur Ring Road that have been designed to take heavy traffic and remove all bottlenecks on them.

For the full report in the ToI, click here.

The actual report copy may be accessed here (p-1; p-2; p-3; p-4). Besides everything else, it says that the road should be restored to its original shape immediately.

Like Dr Ashwin Mahesh has been quoted in the ToI varticle “This is an example to show that citizen’s voices have been heard. Had BDA consulted citizens before starting work, the damage to Sarjapur Road could have been prevented".

Yes, it's still only the recommendation of the Committee to the CM. But, can the CM go against a recommendation made by such a powerful body?

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Congrats!

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But, can the CM go against a recommendation made by such a powerful body?

They will never cease to surprise us with their stupidity... lets wait fingers crossed!

vmenon's picture

sirsi agahra some learnings/implications

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the big learnings/implications are the report, stating

a)That there was no citizen consultation and therefore the problem manifested

b)That residentail areas should not become highways

c)And of course trees to be saved.

But by and large, the citizens arguments held beause there was a solution based approach, with various technical experts giving their solutions in a hardcore drawings formats and not just words.

and that there was a multi pronged approach,courts,press( which played a signifcant role),lobbying to politicans and  beuracrats ( searching out the right,sensible  ones was the task)and contributions from tech experts and institutions.

this last one is the way forward, by all admitting that the governmnet machinery just does not have the competence for advanced solutions, and this gap has to be filled by others.

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