I've just started the following petition addressed to: Mr Ashok K. Lahiri, Executive Director, Asian Development Bank, Delhi.
Srinagar, the Capital of Jammu and Kashmir State, is a city that lacks basic municipal services like safe drinking water and waste management. Srinagar has the dubious distinction of being the second dirtiest city in India, where open drains empty human waste into waterways.
Given this as the context is it prudent to spend $500,000,000 to build a two kilometer long “Flyover” that will cut the peak hour travel time from the Srinagar Airport to the City center by some 12 minutes?
The Jahanagir Chowk - Rambagh Flyover is the flag ship project of the “Jammu and Kashmir Urban Sector Development Investment Program” which is being financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The primary objective of the ADB program is to promote economic development through the expansion of basic municiple services such as water supply, sewage, sanitation, drainage, solid waste management, urban transport, and to strengthen the delivery capacity of agencies.
Imagine what all could be accomplished with this $500,000,000: the price tag for the flyover project.
Please sign the attached petition urging the Asian Development Bank to require the study of alternatives to the flyover project.
This is an enourmous expendituure of public funds for a very limited objective. The net benefit of the flyover is reduction of travel time from 16 minutes to 2.5 minutes for about half the vehicles passing through the area. ( May 2, 2012 Greater Kashmir ERA Editorial). Morever, the flyover project does not meet the primary objective of ADB funding criteria, namely the expansion of basic services in the urban areas. Thus it is respectfully requested that the project be reevalvated.
The proposed flyover project will cause severe environmental impacts that have not be addressed. Also, there are alternatives possible that relieve the traffic conjustion in the area and have less negative impact. These alternatives has been submitted to the ERA. Specificaly the ERA was requested to consider a new street grid for the area adjacent to the Airport Road . The new street grid alternatve may be cheaper to build, could be completed in a shorter time and will open up new land for development and thus have positive impact to the environment and economy of Srinagar. Despite repeated representations to the Jammu and Kashmir Government the alternatives have not been considered. ( May 10, 2112 Greater Kashmir, An Alternative to reconsider)
The proposed flyover is an outdated model and a single purpose project. Its adverse impacts are many: (1) The pylons and elevated structure restrict access and light along the Airport Road; (2) It devalues adjacent properties because of increased noise, vibrations and air pollution; (3) The Flyover structure is out of scale and character of the area; (4) The elevated road will harm livability for some 1,000 housing units in the Silk Factory Bazaar area; (5) There is potential for seismic catrostophic damage; (6) It will cause adverse conditions and congestion in the area during the construction period.(7) And, the Flyover will not relieve traffic congestion; its primary purpose.
The proposed alternative avoids all the above impacts and provides for new and improved surface streets. In addition to improving traffic circulation, as noted earlier, it opens new land for development. It will improve the economic well being of Srinagar. Thus it meets the objectives of ADB’s funding.
The proposed flyover project is done on a fly. It is not even part of the Srinagar City Master plan. The flyover as proposed will create permanent damage to the physical and economic environment of Srinagar. As proposed, the flyover project’s net benefit: reducing the travel time for a short distance, does not meet the primary objective of ADB funding cretaria. Therefore please require that the Flyover project be reevaluated.