The National Green Tribunal on Friday slapped an interim injunction on Bengaluru's steel flyover project for four weeks and asked the state to file a detailed report on its environmental impact before starting its construction. The panel also issued notices to Bangalore Development Authority and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, reported The New Indian Express.
The injunction order comes a day after the Bengaluru Development Authority issued a letter of acceptance to the contractor, Larsen and Toubro. Work was scheduled to start from next week. According to the Times of India, former Karnataka additional chief secretary V Balasubramanyam and N Mukund from Citizen Action Forum had moved the NGT against the controversial 6.7-km steel flyover, arguing that the project demands cutting down 812 trees.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar hailed the interim injunction order. “The order opens the door to a detailed scrutiny of the environmental impact of government's action on the steel flyover project," he told the Times of India. The MP had been supporting the Citizen Action Forum from the very first day. Earlier on Friday, the Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation DV Sadananda Gowda also said that the state government should clear all doubts, reported The International Business Times.
The Rs 1,791-crore flyover, which was proposed by the BDA, will be built between Basaveshwara Circle and Hebbal to ease traffic. Once completed, the steel flyover will be the first of its kind in the country.
It, however, drew widespread criticism from residents and environmental activists. On October 16, over 5,000 city residents formed a human chain to express their dissent against the signal-free thoroughfare to the airport. On October 12, the BDA released a 10-page document to answer questions about the project. However, activists and citizens’ groups said the document only talks about the salient features of the project and does not delve into issues such as the need for a mass transit system and alternative routes to the airport.
Despite public protests and expert advice against the construction of the bridge, the state administration awarded the contract to Larson and Toubro on September 28. The project also found support in Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. He had said that the government will undertake the construction of the flyover as "it has public support".