Development Minister K J George on Tuesday came out in defence of the controversial draft Common Zoning Regulations that allow commercial activities along roads having a width of 29.5 ft or less, saying that only essential activities will be allowed.
The regulations propose only essential commercial establishments such as medical shops, legal offices and so on. While some oppose it, some might actually want these shops in their neighbourhood, he said. “The draft regulations are applicable throughout the state and there is no provision for a Bengaluru-specific zoning regulation. Zoning regulations are needed, especially in places that are unplanned,” he told reporters.
Citizens’ groups have opposed the draft regulations. Petitions signed by more than 6,000 people have been submitted to the Directorate of Town and Country Planning. “We are studying the objections,” George said.
In an attempt to increase open spaces, George said, the Bangalore Development Authority had been directed to identify all abandoned quarries in and around the city under the “green belt” category in the upcoming revised master plan 2031. “This will give us thousands of acres. We will build tree parks and playgrounds on quarries that are used for scientific dumping of waste,” he said.
Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) has been commissioned to study the possibility of a railway line from Yeshwantpur to Devanahalli to improve connectivity to the Kempegowda International Airport, George said. “It’s still on the drawing board. The railways has estimated the project to cost Rs 1,600 crore,” he said.
Also, the government is in talks with a couple of companies to explore the possibility of building tunnels, one of which is proposed from Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal — the route on which the government had earlier proposed to build a controversial steel flyover. “It’s not a fanciful idea. The only problem is that tunnels are expensive; the cost will be 2-3 times that of a flyover. But in the long run, tunnels are good.”
Detailed project report
By October, 80% of the city’s sewage will be treated and the rest will be covered in another three years, he said. The government is also ready with a detailed project report to implement the integrated wetlands ecosystem in the Koramangala-Challaghatta valley.