By George! He never fails to surprise Bengalureans. K J George stole the limelight with announcement of grandiose “Steel (steal) Project” months ago. Citizen activism played spoil sport and the project could not take off. Now, George, seems to have inspired from Elon Musk, who plans to decongest cities in US through underground tunnels, is mulling about an underground tunnel project to decongest Bengaluru. Bengaluru’s traffic is a nightmare for everyone. There are other ways to decongest the city. Improving public transport and rail connectivity can go a long way in improving traffic situation. Digging tunnels at the cost of 600 Cr is a blatant misuse of taxpayer’s money. It’s another “steal” project in the making and bound to generate stiff opposition from public and citizen groups in the city. State assembly elections are around the corner and this has ignited George’s innovative bent of mind. The city desperately needs innovation in areas of sanitation and waste management.
City has more pressing issues which need immediate attention. Water crisis is looming large. Water bodies have been encroached. Why nothing has been done about rejuvenating them? Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj H K Patil has announced a project of drilling up to the depth of one kilometer in 10 areas, including Indi, Aland, Kolar and Gadag. Cost is approximately 12.5 Cr per drilling. This project would enhance depletion of ground water level. Environmentalists have warned against instability and tremors due to such deep wells. Moreover, water may have higher levels of arsenic at deep levels. Ministers of the state are interested in projects and solutions where the cost runs into crores. Incremental steps can be taken to address water crisis. Most of the buildings in the city do not have rain water harvesting. An effective drive is needed to ensure defaulters are taken to task and rain water harvesting is followed by everyone. Gallons and gallons of water is wasted through leakage as water pipes are too old and rusty. New rust resistant water pipes should be installed. Drilling bore wells to the depth of one kilometer is not the only solution.
Professor TV Ramachandra of the Centre for Ecological Sciences at the IISc has predicted that the city will be unliveable and a dead city within the next five years. According to the Deccan Herald, former principal chief conservator of forests AN Yallappa Reddy, the government should use 40,000 acres of land reclaimed after evicting squatters for community benefits such as creating lung space, water bodies and playgrounds. Boring tunnels and digging bore wells can wait. It’s time to reclaim the city before it’s dead.
Picture Credit: Business Insider