Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sankey road : "developed" into a desert stretch

Even as the city is reeling under sweltering heat, the powers that be come up with yet another proposal to reduce the city's greenery. This is in addition to the war memorial taking several trees for victim. The claim is that cauvery cinema junction to yeshwanthpur will be made a "signal free" corridor. You would have to be exceptionally dimwitted to fail to notice that the only signals along the corridor are the ones at bhashyam circle and cnr rao circle. And any commuter who uses that stretch regularly will tell you that traffic piles up around bhashyam circle alone but the rest of the corridor is a breeze. Despite the spurt in traffic over the last 5 years, you never hear of a “jam” along that corridor due to the “narrowness” of the road either near malleswaram 18th cross or near palace orchards. While work in already on at cnr rao junction, bhashyam circle is expected to get a "magic box". With these signals removed, pray help me understand what bottleneck remains? Where is the need to widen any road along that stretch, least of all lop trees, when trees in the vicinity of IISc have already been destroyed in the name of development? As per the Deccan Herald article, the plea of residents of Malleswaram has been met with a deaf ear and a response in the form of “we like greenery but we're in favor of development”. In this particular case, the greenery does not come at the cost of development. In fact, the signal at bhashyam cirle could be removed with little (if any) loss of tree cover. That would suffice to ease the traffic along that corridor.

The citizens of Bangalore brought the local government to power in the municipal elections hoping for sensible administration - not to be deprived of greenery and clean air to breathe. It makes you wonder if the decision makers are so obsessed with “development” that they don't mind eroding Bangalore's real heritage - the trees - and turning it into a maze of concrete & asphalt, while turning a blind eye to the citizens' fervent appeals. On the other hand, taking a balanced view of development and restoring the city's lost greenery could win them accolades from all quarters instead of earning the people's scorn this way. We have reached a stage where the city records all time temperature high's in summer with people being forced to purchase air conditioners (and maybe even water in the near future). Do we need to pay a even bigger price for development that we don't need? Are the voices of the people being heard?