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Loksatta to fill the 'hole in governance' at Tagore Circle
March 2010

Mr. Muralidhar Rao, the shadow transport minister of Karnataka in the Loksatta party today demanded that the BBMP give up its disastrous attempts to build an underpass at the Tagore circle in Basavangudi. "It is entirely unnecessary, given the comparatively low traffic around the circle. Just look at the low utilisation of the National College flyover built at a colossal cost earlier. It defies all logic to spoil the face of the quintessentially Bangalorean Basavangudi area with its age old Gandhi bazaar", rues Mr.Rao.

Mr.Rao is emphatic: "Constructing buildings, laying roads and building flyovers and underpasses are perennial favourites of bad politicians. There is nothing new in this. It is common knowledge that there is a lot of leakage in these projects, but they hope no one will care as long as there is something useful being done. But the proposed underpass at the Tagore circle doesn't even meet this low standard - it will actually inconvenience the so-called beneficiaries, the residents of Sunkenahalli and surrounding wards, including Basavangudi"

"I oppose the Tagore circle underpass, and will fight it tooth and nail," declared Mr.Prakash Belawadi, the well-known theater person and Loksatta candidate from Sunkenahalli. "I get a sense of deja vu, having seen the National College flyover fiasco. This totally needless project was pushed on the citizens. They got a consultant firm to produce a survey in 2006 claiming a traffic figure of 11,358 passenger car units per hour. However, according to acknowledged traffic experts like Prof M N Sreehari, the vehicle volume was only in the range of 4000 pcu/hr even in Sept 2009. This kind of traffic can easily be managed by a well designed traffic lights system. No wonder that this work was initiated in the middle of the night, like a crime committed upon the people."

"Similar tactics were used earlier to construct the National College flyover, which remains totally under-utilised even now, after causing a lot of hardship to homes and businesses in the area, destroying the green cover, and burdening the exchequer by tens of crores of tax payers' money. We should not allow the same thing to happen here," Mr.Belawadi added.

On Sunday, March 21 at 5 PM, Mr.Belawadi will lead residents of the area in a symbolic closure of the underpass, by hurling some of the debris - helpfully left scattered around by contractors - into the pit of the underpass. He encouraged all voters in Sunkenahalli to join him in closing the project. "All over the city, we have seen this. Some totally needless project is started with ribbon cutting by some minister or MLA, and then totally abandoned for years. Unless the people force one of these projects to be abandoned, this nonsense will continue," he said. "It is time to say, 'it is ok if some money has been wasted on the pit-digging so far."

Mr.Belawadi said, "Let us cover the hole in our governance, before we try to build any more of these holes in the ground."

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