In a country that grows at a rate of about 7 per cent, Bengaluru’s contribution to the national GDP is vital. So, when the city is in distress the country’s economy also feels the pressure.
Currently, plans for construction of a steel flyover across central areas of the city have not only stalled the government’s progress but also angered many citizens, who continue to protest it. The project, which is viewed as harmful to the city by its citizens, can also be looked at as an opportunity to take Bengaluru to new heights. Therefore, here are some ways to address the concerns of the protestors while, at the same time, help the city develop:
The elevated corridor ensures that roads at ground level will be free of excessive traffic. One can also expect a reduction in both air and noise pollution levels. The government’s assurance to plant 60,000 trees in lieu of the existing 812 trees is similar to that given for the construction of the Metro rail. This was executed with the help of the Horticultural Department in Bengaluru recently.
Trees like Simarouba glauca , which, as per research, improves the fertility of the soil and cleanses the air, can be planted in the wastelands around Bengaluru.
Cost and time
The cost of the project, which is around ₹1,791 crore, can be justified by the government if it makes it mandatory for contractors to procure all the steel from manufacturers within the State. This will increase the State’s gross domestic product and also act as a support mechanism for the local steel manufacturers, many of whom are struggling to dispose of inventory because of the global slowdown in the demand for steel.
As the contract is a fixed-price one, the government will benefit if steel prices rise in the future, as estimated by some analysts in the metal sector. Also, the time taken to construct a reinforced cement concrete (RCC) flyover is much more than that for a steel flyover.
Using the space beneath
Bengaluru is a city that sees a heavy flow of vehicles. Traffic jams and a lack of parking spaces are major issues across the city. A flyover will reduce traffic and the space below it can be used for parking vehicles. Also, gardens can be grown underneath the bridge, similar to the Matunga Flyover in Mumbai.
This space could also be used for recreational activities as the number of fitness enthusiasts in the city grows. Provisions to jog, walk and cycle within the gardens can be made. The cultural heritage of the city and/or Karnataka may be depicted through paintings and carvings in the pillars of the flyover.
Rail versus road
Only 25 per cent of existing commuters are expected to use the rail line, if introduced. The others will continue to use roads. The number of commuters on roads, even after introduction of a rail line, will be significantly higher than what it is now in the coming years ( see Table ).
Thus, a rail line will not serve as a substitute to the flyover but may only be a complementary.
The birth of this bridge will ensure the beginning of further growth in the State’s economy as the State may woo more companies to establish themselves here rather than in other cities. This is mainly because traffic will flow smoother in the areas between Basaveshwara Circle and Hebbal, making airport connectivity far more seamless.
The inflow of new companies will ensure increased job opportunities in the city. With an estimated population of about 11.5 million people in the city in 2016, the amount spent on each head for the project (₹1,600) from a per capita income of more than ₹2,70,000 is worth it, considering the growth prospects of the city.
Glisten and Rakesh are first-year students of the PGDM course at Loyola Institute of Business Administration.