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

New study tracks heat wave; exposes dangerous trends in big cities

An unprecedented heat wave has been enveloping Indian cities, worsening the urban heat island effect, this summer. A new analysis by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) says there are far deeper and longer term evidences on the nature of this changing trend that is impacting the biggest cities of the

Phase 6: Voter turnout 59.06% at 7:45 PM

Polling in the sixth phase of General Elections 2024 which commenced across 58 PCs recorded an approximate voter turnout of 59.06% as of 7:45 pm Saturday. In spite of hot weather in certain parts of the country, voters were undeterred in their enthusiasm as they were seen queuing up patient

Banks not adhering to RBI guidelines, finds study

Banks across India are levying inconsistent service charges on basic savings accounts. A study, “Benchmarking Reasonableness of Service Charges by Banks in India”, uncovers and exposes inconsistencies in adherence to RBI mandates by banks. It finds some banks impose charges exceeding reasonable

“Mumbai Infra boom similar to that of Manhattan in 19th C”

Mumbai’s ongoing infrastructure boom – with a new coastal road, Atal Setu, metro lines and much more – creating transport corridors – is comparable to that of Manhattan in New York during 1811-1870, according to BMC commissioner Bhushan Gagrani. The iconic projects being implemented

Global Gandhi: How the Mahatma captured the world’s imagination

Gandhi’s Australia, Australia’s Gandhi By Thomas Weber Orient BlackSwan, 348 pages, Rs 1,800  

Urban apathy in Mumbai, Maharashtra sees 49% voting

Polling in the fifth phase of General Elections 2024 which commenced at 7 am on Monday simultaneously across 49 PCs recorded an approximate voter turnout of 57.47% as of 7:45 pm. Voters came out in large numbers braving hot weather in many parts of the states that went for polls on Monday.

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter