Speak up people, if you want to be heard

The scrapping of the controversial steel flyover in Bengaluru is a fine example of what civil society can do.

rahul

Rahul Dass | March 2, 2017 | New Delhi


#civil society   #citizen protests   #Karnataka   #Bengaluru   #steel flyover  
Citizens stand in front of Chalukya Hotel to say no to steel flyover
Citizens stand in front of Chalukya Hotel to say no to steel flyover

Bengaluru’s overly ambitious steel flyover project, which would have led to 800 trees being sliced and diced, has been dropped. Karnataka minister KJ George said the decision was taken as the BJP was trying to cash in on allegations that the project involved an alleged kickback.
What was left unsaid was the people of Bengaluru were up in arms over the project that would have cost the exchequer more than Rs 1,700 crore and would have led to the drastic reduction in the much-needed green canopy.
 
The credit for the project’s scrapping goes entirely to the common people who decided that they would not allow their city to be taken for a ride. In a city like Bengaluru where traffic is a nightmare, a flyover would be a welcome step. However in this case, citizens’ protests have resulted in scrapping of the project. Enough is enough, they said. They stood their ground, even though the state government seemed to be too keen to push ahead.
 
The civic mobilisation was unprecedented in the recent months and showed the true prowess of what a people’s movement can do.
On October 28 last year, the Chennai bench of the National Green Tribunal stayed the 6.9-km project from Chalukya Circle in the city centre to Hebbal junction in the northern suburb, connecting the international airport road at Devanahalli and National Highway 4 towards Hyderabad.
 
Four months later, it has finally been dropped.
 
India has seen a string of such movements. These people’s movements focused on key issues.
 
Chipko movement, Koel Karo, Save Silent Valley, Narmada Bachao Andolan are just some of the excellent instances of people who came together to take up and issue and did not hesitate to take on the might of the state.
 
These movements remained, as far as possible, apolitical, which gave it a distinct hue.
In the more recent years, Anna Hazare’s campaign against corruption demanded the enactment of the Jan Lokpal Bill. The movement was a huge success. It is another matter that it led to the birth of the Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is a political party.
 
In 2011, people packed the sprawling Ramlila Maidan in the national capital. It was a sea of humanity and people turned up on their own. They did not have to be invited. It was unique because residents of Delhi are normally considered indifferent to social issues. They came on two-wheelers, in cars, buses and the metro. They stayed there from morning till evening. The crowd would thin out at night, but people would always be present.
 
Policemen present at the spot told me that in the evening when they go back home, they change out of their khaki uniform, wear civil dress and come back to the site with their families.
 
India needs social movements that will shake up old and rigid mindsets and give a fresh direction to where this country is headed to.
 
No movement can be a success without people’s participation. Anna Hazare showed us, Bengaluru showed us. It is here that you and I count. Staying silent won't help. If you want to be heard, speak up. Otherwise, it may be too late.
 

Comments

 

Other News

“Practise ‘mental distancing’ to keep calm amid epidemic”

Half way through the year 2020, it has been a tough time all around the world: Covid-19 epidemic, loss of lives, economic hardships and also numerous other problems – natural disasters and political protests. Coming together, it all has mental health under immense strain. To discuss this and othe

Understanding immunity: How to boost it during Covid-19

In a first, the Department of Home Science, Sri Padmavati Mahila Visvavidayalam (Women’s University) Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, recently organized an international webinar on “Nutrition and Immune System Support during COVID-19 Pandemic”. Speakers included eminent national and internationa

Covid-19: India’s recovery rate improves to 59.43%

Even as Unlock enters the second phase, the number of Covid-19 infections continues to rise to record levels and India remains No 4 in the worldwide list, yet there is glimmer of hope: its recovery rate is also rising in tandem. There are 1,27,864 recovered cases more than the active Covid-1

Coming soon at a station near you: private trains!

A long-debated idea is finally coming to fruition as the Indian railways has decided to join hands with the private sector, in running some train services to begin with. The ministry of railways has invited ‘request for qualifications’ (RFQ) for private participation for operatio

A place of local democracy in pandemic governance: The case of Mumbai

Democracy in India is now taken for a fact, with an unstated assumption that all our institutions are democratic and hence often our successes and more often failures are attributed to ‘democracy’. However, a key frontier where democracy remains a challenge is that of local governments and that

Why TikTok, other apps were banned: “Engaged in anti-India activities”

India, facing China’s aggressiveness at border, has banned 59 smartphone apps, including TikTok, as they were indulging in activities harmful to India’s sovereignty and integrity. The reason cited was: “in view of information available they are engaged in activities which [



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter