Updated: August 2016
The people of Belagavi are known to be extremely tolerant towards the lax attitude of the political leaders whose apathy towards the development of the city, has, over the years, resulted in Belagavi becoming a massive village. All rhetoric of it being a booming metro city falls flat with the lack of basic infrastructure. If demolishing habitats and widening roads is the limit for the politician’s idea of development, then we are still in the primitive stage. Can we, as citizens of a beautiful and developing city, not expect certain amenities that will boost development even further?
There were many projects spoken of, even foundation stones laid, credit taken but the end result is still not seen.
Lets see some projects and its status over the years and what all is required in the coming years: (this list is not exhaustive)
Ring Road: In 2006 a Jaipur based company was awarded the contract but even before the work could commence the urban development ministry canceled the contract and gave it to state road Development Corporation and cases were filed. The Rs.30 crore project is now estimated to go over Rs.300 crores and one more plan suggested it to cross Rs.1000 crores.
Current status: nothing is happening
Bus stand development: The development of the Central bus stand was planned in 2008 and then in 2009 a Draft proposal was made and tenders were called in but nothing happened later. The estimated Project Cost then was Rs. 25.70 crores and was to be built on Lease-cum-Development Format Design-Build-Operate-Transfer (DBOT) basis.
According to the plan the new bus stand would have 41 bus bays, bus circulation and parking areas, auto-rickshaw lane, taxi parking lane, basement parking for private vehicles, passenger entry/ exit, Terminal building consisting of passenger circulation and waiting areas, ticket/ reservation counters, cloak room, first-aid room, waiting rooms, passenger amenities like drinking water, toilets, yatri nivas etc., restaurant, shops, kiosks and administrative offices, crew restrooms, parcel office and other facilities.
Current status: nothing is happening (no bids for call 2 also in December 2015) also included in the Smart City project proposal
Cricket stadium: The Karnataka Cricket Association international stadium at Kanbargi which was envisaged and even work had begun in April 2009. But after the initial ground leveling nothing is happening.
Current status: Ready and being utilised
Fly over / under pass near railway crossings: For years, Belgaum has suffered patiently waiting at railway gates and wasted lakhs of productive man hours just practicing being cool in times of urgency.
In 2009 the state government had agreed to bear a part of the cost of the over bridge near Kapileshwar gate and old Dharwad road. Tender process for the Rs.100 crore sanctioned by the state govt. was also sanctioned.
But not a stone has moved here. The railway authorities later said that soil there is not feasible and an underpass would be better and ordered for another proposal which is yet to be made. The local residents also opposed the over bridge. On the Dharwad road front nothing really moved.
On the question of the heavy traffic congestion at First gate, Second gate, Third gate there are NO plans actually drawn yet.
Current status: Work on RC 385 Kapileshwar road in progress since 18 months
Subways: The two subways were planned are at DC office to court and another one at fish market to Anthony school. Rs.75 lakhs each for the subway were allocated. Year of plan: 2010
Pedestrian underpass at court is operational but is not used
Current status: Fish Market plan dropped
Indoor Stadium: On the empty land of the corporation in Malmaruti an indoor stadium was to be built.
Rs.5 crore was the cost estimated for the indoor stadium. Year of plan: 2010
Current status: Work is in progress
Road widen from fish Market to Udyambag: Khanapur road from Govaves to 3rd gate is planned to widened to 120 feet. The PWD has surveyed the area and made markings on the buildings on the road. 9 crores budget allocated. The road from Fish market (near old age home) till Zad Shahapur comes under the PWD as a part of the NH 4A . The initial plan was to widen the road till Udyambag at least. But now PWD plans only widening the 2 km stretch until 3 rd gate from Basveshwar circle. Year of plan: 2009
Current status: Road widened but quality of work is very bad still incomplete in small phases. No divider as yet. Median lights installed in some stretches
FM station: A city with more than 5 lakhs population still does not have a FM radio station. Since 2008 we are waiting for a FM station. Under Phase III of the FM radio licenses the city can have upto 4 stations. Still the frequency auction has not yet taken place.
KLE has opened the Community FM radio 90.4 Venudhwani
PVT FM station bidding still on
Heritage Park at Vaccine Depot: The Vaccine depot which has a long history to it came into the lime light when there were rumors that it will be good site for building the Suvarna Vidhan Soudha in August 2007. Environmentalists and nature lovers came together and raised voice that the rich heritage and the flora and fauna should be saved and preserved.
Then in 2008 it was decided that a heritage park would be built in the Vaccine Depot premises. As of today the first designs for the park are ready are put forth discussions. Belagavi architect Randhir Chowgule has designed the park which will also be home to a wide variety of birds, butterflies with plenty fruit bearing trees along with a glass house, walking and cycling tracks, an amphitheater, hanging bridges, art gallery, food courts & Sculptures would be installed at various points in the park.
Current status: Design of Heritage park ready now waiting for approval. At this rate time for completion would be another 12-24 months. Minister has reaffirmed the construction of the same in December 2013 Assembly session.
NOTHING happening plan put in Smart city plan
Glass House at Vaccine Depot Ready
Airport: The Sambra airport dates back to 1942, when it was under the Patwardhan Sarkar of Sangli. The Patwardhan Sarkar gave permission for establishing the air base at Sambra to the Royal Air Force (RAF) in late 1942.
In 1999 the airport was closed for modernization and extension of runway. 370 acres of land adjoining the airport has been acquired to extend the length of existing runway (537 metres). All flights were stopped from 21 November, 2011 and after that there have been no signs of any flight resumptions. The airport has been upgraded and equipped with better facilities at a cost of Rs. 3.57 crore recently but there are no flights taking off.
The airport needs an extension of runway so as to land Boeing 737-800 or A320 types of planes. The runway is already wide enough but the length is the constraint. The second taxiway near the emergency service enclave is under construction and after connecting it to the main apron it will cater to VIP terminal. The present apron is also limited for Avro or ATR. To allow a Boeing it will needs a small expansion on either southeast or southwest side of old taxiway.
Daily flights to Bangalore/Mumbai.
Runway work is completed but the ATC, APRON and New terminal buildings under construction.
Expanded runway awaiting DGCA Approval
Multi level Car Parking: Right from 2007 the Bapat Galli Car parking space was talked to be converted into a multi level car parking. Nothing has moved on this. Except for some tours by the corporators. Even a dream of a Vertipark (multi level parking) was shown but nothing happened on the ground. Not even an inch has moved around the car parking which now cant even hold 60 cars where as the number of cars have tripled since 2007 in the city. Parking has become a major problem and no one is looking at this a major problem and trying to resolve it.
Current status: Nothing is happening
24 x 7 Water Supply
The ambitious plan has been implemented in 10 wards and was scheduled to be expanded to all 58 wards under World bank funds.
But work on expansion not yet begun
Underground Electric cabling
Underground Electric cabling has been completed in many areas. Activated in a few areas as well.
Information Technology: The Desur IT park built in 2008 still has no IT company in it. The current state of the IT park is nothing but land for grazing cows. It is an ambitious project to begin with on 41 Acres 19 guntas land at Desur on Belgaum – Panaji Road (about 500 Mtrs. off NH).
We get to hear that about 16 applications were received and allocations would be done anytime. But with the current state of the park dont expect anything to happen there for the next two years. Now a JLR golf resort is also planned just in the vicinity of the IT park.
Current Status: Nothing its a grazing ground. KEONICS plans one more at Hindalga.
Autos by meters: This is a dream which each Belgaumite is born with since ages. The pre paid auto at railway station has not picked up. The local RTO has never shown interest in meeting the Auto owners and fixing the FARES. When the same is done in Bangalore why dont the authorities fix the FARES here. It has been decades now since the fare were fixed.
Status: Not implemented, only on paper
What also needs to be looked is at the ever growing city, its sewage and garbage problem. The city has now grown beyond compare but even still we have only one water treatment plant for the entire city with some small filtration units on local wells.
All this leads us to keep asking the question ‘WHY’? Why not… Is it too much to expect from a government that flourishes on taxpayers’ money? If we have the audacity of hope to dream big, we must also have the guile to demand highways for our dreams.