The BMIC, hurdles and shoddy Governance
The BMIC, or Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project was conceived around the mid/late 90′s and work started in the late ’90s. It intended to cut travel times between the two cities from 3-4 hours to about 2 hours(with 1 1/2 hr on the highway). At conception it was intended to house 5 townships along the highway/corridor as well – to decongest the city.
Among the big initial concerns were:
1. The highway cutting across highly arable land – and requiring lots of it
2. The cost of the project
3. The concern over the need for another expensive project(it came on the back of failed Enron), when doubling railway tracks, and the existing highway was undergoing upgradation(now completed).
A pic from the NICE site:
From the start the project has been enveloped by controversy. The initial concerns listed above had environmentalists up in arms against the project and suggesting various other measures – including expansion, upgradation of the existing highway(since been completed).
Even as that was barely resolved, and the project near getting back on gear came the allegation of misuse of land, by Mr. Deve Gowda (against the S M Krishna Govt.). This was followed by denials, the subsequent change of government and finally litigation. The litigation was quashed by the Karnataka High Court, and then the Supreme Court – with an exemplary fine and castigation of the Karnataka Government for, as the honourable court put it, frivolous litigation.
And then the BMIC said this:
With the Supreme Court giving the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project the green signal, project promoter Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) said it is ready to commence work on the expressway from the Mysore side also if the government allotted the land required.
Things one would like to see change for the better:
The Right to Information Act has enable some amount of transperancy in the deals, but has not been implemented. A lot of the confusion and litigation over the BMIC could have easily been avoided if the data was made available in the public domain – the environmental impact analyses for example. The reasons for denying approval to the townships, etc.,
2. Acquisition of Land.
Why should the Government acquire the land from the people? It should be the private parties who should acquire it – and, as a safegaurd, notify the local authorities, who are anyway better placed to handle any conflict of interest or litigations arising from that. That would ensure that there are no political agendas driving for excess land acquisition or accusations of the same! It would also ensure that the land owners themselves are NOT forced to sell, unlike now.
3. The speed of case disbursal.
It is nobody’s case that the courts are facing huge number of cases, and backlogs. Issues that affect thousands of people – millions, even, should take the highest priority, and be disposed off, asap. The BMIC also involves a link road from Hosur Rd to Mysore Road – and the speed of activity in the days since the SC approval has been tremendous.
4. Continuity in policies.
There has to be a set mechanism that allows for continuity, and consistency in policy regarding on-going projects. In a democractic form of government, we will see changes in governments – so there has to be a mechanism to address continuity as well as for changes in policy. Most often, all we see is the ‘Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram’s ensuring policies change with each change of government – and that is ridiculous!
(Most links obtained was via Google. Yahoo! search proved rather unreliable)