A human chain to protest against the construction of a proposed steel flyover in Bengaluru saw the participation of at least 3,000 people on Sunday morning, The Times of India reported.
The 6.7 km flyover, which is supposed to run between Basaveshwara Circle and Hebbal would cost nearly Rs 1,800 crores to build and cause substantial damage to the green cover of the city. Were it to come up, the construction is expected to reduce the notorious traffic congestion in the city but also destroy over 800 tress, which are part of its urban heritage, and require around 4 acres of public and privately-owned land.
Some experts say, instead of reducing traffic snarls, the flyover may lead to a messier situation. At best, the structure may help commuters to the airport gain about 10 minutes of driving time, as this detailed report on the costs of the project points out.
Citizens across different age groups, including some well-known personalities, came forward to express their disapproval of the project, holding placards saying "Steel Flyover Beda", which, in Kannada, means "Steel Flyover not wanted". A hashtag #steelflyoverbeda also trended on social media.
Theatre activist Arundhati Nag, historian Ramachandra Guha, former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde and politician Rajeev Chandrasekhar were among those who gathered in solidarity against the plan.
Guha, who has written extensively on environmentalism, called the project "a scam" in a tweet.
Great to be part of this citizens' protest in Bengaluru today; the proposed steel flyover is a scam, and must be scrapped. https://t.co/YdkYnVhgO1— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) October 16, 2016
Others echoed the call to scrap the project.
The human chain, which stretched between two ends of the proposed project, demanded better public transport and traffic management from the government and rejected the flyover as a potential solution to their daily woes. Earlier Citizens Against Steel Flyover, a citizen's collective, had expressed concern over the secrecy and the haste with which the plan for the flyover had been passed. Activists also urged Larson and Toubro, which has won the contract, to withdraw from the project.
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