The National Green Tribunal issued an interim injunction on Bengaluru's controversial steel bridge project for four weeks on Friday. The order comes a day after the Bengaluru Development Authority issued a letter of acceptance to the contractor indicating that work could begin next week.
Earlier on Friday, the Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation, D V Sadananda Gowda, said that the Karnataka government should clear doubts of the public, which has been divided over the massive project. Many citizens claimed that the project will be like a "steel dagger through the heart" of the city.
"The state government should clear all the doubts instead of becoming impatient over the opposition to the proposed steel flyover. Minister for Bengaluru Development and Town Planning K J George had arranged a meeting to explain to me about the steel flyover. I had asked him to clear the doubts such as cost escalation, ecology issues, toll and the fate of the amount paid as VAT. I do not why the state government is silent on around Rs 200 crore included as a VAT in the project cost. It should tell the people of Bengaluru the amount would be paid to the state government by the contractor of the project," Sadananda Gowda said.
As is the norm, Larsen and Toubro, the company which got the contract to construct the flyover, will be paying a 5 percent security deposit after receiving the acceptance letter, a member of the BDA told the Times of India.
"Close to 80% of the land required for the project belongs to BDA or the government. So we can issue the work order and start construction before taking land from private parties and defence department near Mehkri Circle," he told the TOI, indicating that the work could start as soon as next week.
Responding to George's comments that the state government was willing to hand over the project to the Central government if it could do it in Rs. 1,300 crore, Gowda said, "If George made such statement, there is no need for anyone to imagine his contribution for the development of Bengaluru."
The steel flyover is proposed to be built between Basaveshwara Circle and Hebbal to decongest the road that heads to the Kempegowda International Airport.
NGOs and other civilians have been protesting against the construction of the flyover as they believe that it will be harmful to the environment.