Pending projects in city get a fillip

New projects announced include ‘Mathondu Cauvery’ scheme, loop on K.R. Puram flyover

For the first time, allocations have been made for several pending projects, raising hopes that they may be implemented on ground this year. The government has allocated a total of ₹5,534.55 crore towards various projects aimed at improving Bengaluru’s infrastructure in the 2019-20 Budget presented by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Friday.

Many of the projects that have remained on paper for years and received a much-needed shot in the arm include the Peripheral Ring Road (₹1,000 crore), the underpass at Goraguntepalya, several projects that were in limbo due to delays in the transfer of defence land, and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board’s Cauvery 5th Stage.

Reducing dependence on Cauvery

The Budget made note of a few new projects, such as the construction of a loop on the existing K.R. Puram flyover, the ‘Mathondu Cauvery’ scheme, plugging the entry of sewage in the stormwater drain network, and housing initiatives in notified slums.

The highlight of the Budget, according to civic experts, is the ‘Mathondu Cauvery’ scheme that envisages reducing Bengaluru’s dependence on Cauvery by harnessing the available water resources to flow into the Arkavati and Dakshina Pinakini rivers. For this, a comprehensive programme has been drawn up, which includes rejuvenation of all water bodies in the catchment area and purifying waste water. If implemented successfully, the city is likely to get 1,400 million litres per day (MLD) of additional water. An allocation of ₹50 crore has been made for this ambitious project.

Currently, the city draws 1,470 MLD from the Cauvery. By 2031, as per the Draft Master Plan, the city’s demand is expected to go up to 4,282 MLD, of which work is on to draw an additional 775 MLD under the Cauvery 5th Stage.

While the total cost of the Cauvery 5th stage project is ₹5,500 crore, the government will be releasing ₹500 crore this financial year.

According to experts, ‘Mathondu Cauvery’ project is the most sustainable way to meet the water needs of the city. They also welcomed plans to prevent the entry of sewage into the stormwater drain network at 914 points. An allocation of ₹76.55 crore has been made for the same.

₹1,000 cr. for elevated corridors and PRR

Conspicuous by its absence is the steel flyover project. Though the government had earlier announced its intention to go ahead with the controversial project despite opposition from several citizens’ groups, the project does not find a mention in the Budget. Though this has brought temporary relief, the government has allocated ₹1,000 crore for another controversial project – seven elevated corridors that will criss-cross the city, drawing the ire of civic groups. The government had earlier announced a ‘Nava Bengaluru’ scheme, under which projects worth ₹8,015 crore would be taken up over a period of three years – 2019-20 to 2021-22. For the 2019-20 fiscal, the government has stated that it will release ₹2,300 crore.

Some of the projects envisaged under the action plan, which was recently approved by the government, include white-topping of 92 roads, grade separators, and stormwater drains improvement.

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