Businesses badly hit in various parts of the city like Kengeri, KR Puram, Silk Board Junction.
Meghna Das Chowdhury
The delay in the completion of Namma Metro Phase 2 is increasing traffic congestion. People of Kengeri, Silk Board Junction and K.R. Puram complain their lives and businesses are disrupted due to traffic jams.
The project has missed deadlines due to various reasons such as land acquisition and funding. The construction site has occupied nearly half the area of roads, making it difficult for motorists.
The roads are so congested that drivers of huge trucks and buses find it very difficult to drive. Even pedestrians cannot walk freely. At places where no work is going on, motorists have started parking their vehicles.
Fayez, a shopkeeper near the Silk Board Junction, informed The Observer: “This crossing is one of the busiest in the city. The Metro construction work has made the situation worse. Traffic inconvenience has increased a lot. It has become difficult to even walk freely.”
According to an article in the Deccan Herald, “The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd’s chief public relations officer B.L. Yashwant Chavan said they’re coordinating with the police on traffic plan and management.”
The Observer tried to contact the BMRCL PRO for his comment, but he was unavailable.
“Traffic congestion has caused a lot of loss to my business. People cannot stand with their vehicles near my shop. Policemen make sure the vehicles do not stop near the shops as it increases traffic jams,” Inayath N., who sells automobile parts, said. “The Metro construction work is carried out only for 2-3 days a week.”
M.S. Prakash, an assistant sub-inspector at the Karnataka traffic police headquarters, confirmed: “Traffic problems have increased due to Metro construction work. We keep getting posts and tweets on social media about people complaining about traffic congestion. They send pictures of traffic jams. If we see that the situation is serious, we try to resolve it as soon as possible. Managing traffic has become difficult… .”
Namma Metro’s Phase 2 is expected to make commuting faster and safer for thousands of people. Phase 2 includes four extensions of Phase I and two new lines. It covers the 19-km Outer Ring Road stretch from the Central Silk Board Junction to K.R. Puram (Phase II-A) and the 30-km stretch from Nagawara to the Kempegowda International Airport (Phase II-B). When completed, Phase II is expected to have a daily ridership of 20 lakh.
Autorickshaw drivers and bus drivers say it is tough to drive on the congested roads.
Babu D, an autorickshaw driver in Kengeri, said: “It has been five years since the work started. I don’t see them working every day. Construction material eats up half of the road. It becomes very difficult for us to ride.”
An official from the RTO agreed that traffic jams have increased due to the Metro work, adding that traffic management is mostly handled by the police.
Prakash said: “We have placed variable messaging systems in various parts of the city that tell you about the traffic scenarios in various parts of the city and help in traffic diversion.”
Dr. V. Ramesh, head of the civil engineering department at the Rajarajeshwari College of Engineering, said: “There are many things that add to the delay. One cannot simply start digging a road. There is the problem of land acquisition. So many kilometres at a stretch have to be acquired. They need permission.
“Moving huge blocks of construction materials, bringing them to the construction site… all these need to be done during night when there is no traffic. Therefore, all these things add up to the delay. Engineers plan a project within a certain deadline but when any hindrance comes up, the deadline gets extended.”
Bengalureans, like gym trainer Adnan, expect early completion of the project. “The delay is causing a lot of inconvenience, but once it is done, our lives will be much easier,” he said.
BMRCL releases newsletters every month to update citizens about Metro work.
According to the Union ministry of urban development, one of the conditions for approving the project was that the Karnataka government ensures land acquisition does not become a reason for delay in implementation.