Bengaluru steel flyover is history

The Asian Age.

Metros, In Other Cities

Mega project junked over allegations of kickbacks; 800 trees saved.

A file photo of Citizens for Bengaluru agitating against the steel flyover plan in Bengaluru.

Bengaluru: Hundreds of people in Bengaluru, worried about losing more of the city’s green cover, heaved a collective sigh of relief Thursday as the government announced it was dropping the controversial steel flyover planned between Basaveshwara Circle and Hebbal to ease traffic to Kempegowda international airport.

The announcement was made by Bengaluru development minister K.J. George after a meeting with the mayor and city legislators to discuss a possible water crisis hitting the city in summer and ways to overcome it.

Party sources said the decision to junk the steel flyover project was taken Wednesday evening as the Congress leadership in Delhi was worried about the fallout of the Govindaraju diary entries on alleged pay-offs made by the state Congress and charges of kickbacks received for the steel bridge. 

 

It reportedly wanted the chief minister to “clean up” the matter and shelve the flyover project. To the surprise of many, the meeting called to discuss the anticipated water crisis in the city, began with Congress MLAs S.T. Somashekhar and Muniratha bringing up the issue of the steel bridge and arguing it should be dropped.

While the bridge does not come under either of their constituencies, both legislators are said to be close aides of the chief minister.  Other Congress leaders such as Byrati Suresh and Krishna Byre Gowda backed the project, and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of trying to stall the city’s development.

Karnata Congress working president Dinesh Gundurao asked the government to keep the project in abeyance, but the BJP leaders declined to comment even when pointedly asked by Mr George for their views. 

Aravind Limbavali went so far as to claim the BJP had never opposed the project, but after an argument with Mr George, insisted the government could not withdraw it after receiving kickbacks.

Denying the allegation, Mr George moved to a side of the conference hall to speak to the chief minister about the project, and at the end of the meeting announced he had persuaded him to drop it. The decision will be approved at the next Cabinet meeting, he added.

Accusing BJP MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar of conspiring with the BJP, NGOs and the media to stall the city’s development, he said, “Chandrashekhar started it and the BJP president started making wild allegations. First he said Rs 400 crore was paid and later that kickbacks were revealed during I-T raids on Mr Govindaraju’s house. Now he is talking of diary entries and money given to the chief minister himself.”

Read more...