First Published 2010
Updated: January 2018
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 Belgaum/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.
Let’s 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 cross Rs.1000 crores. Now the new road to be known as Belagavi Bypass
Current status: Land Acquisition notification – The NHAI has issued a notification for the acquisition of land for the construction of the 4/6 lane (A) Belagavi Bypass (Western) tentatively from Km 9.500 (NH 4A) to Km 515.000 (NH 4) (22 Km) and (B) Belagavi Bypass (Eastern) from Km 515.000 (NH 4) to Km 492.000 (NH 4) (New NH 48) (33 Km) in the state of Karnataka.
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: Construction of the Bus stand is in progress and is expected to be completed by December 2019. The Connecting Waiting rooms to be constructed unber the Smart city project yet to commence.
Cricket stadium: The Karnataka Cricket Association international stadium at Kanbargi which was envisaged and even work had begun in April 2009.
Current status: Already has hosted international Women’s T20 matches and a couple of Ranji Trophy Matches.
Fly over / underpass near railway crossings: For years, Belgaum/Belagavi 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 overbridge near Kapileshwar gate and old Dharwad road.
Current status: Kapileshwar Bridge, Old PB road, Gogte Circle RoB commissioned. Work on 3rd gate would commence any time.
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
The pedestrian underpass at court is operational, but sadly no one uses it
Fish Market Subway Plan Scrapped
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: Plan SCRAPPED
Road widening 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 Fishmarket (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: 120 feet wide road from Gogte Circle to Peeranwadi Cross Comissioned.
Stretch of Road from Sanchayni Circle to Fish Market under Cantonment is not widened but a proposal for the same has been sent to Delhi.
Dharwad- Belgaum(via Kittur) Rail Line
Only a feasibility study was done but nothing much after that, no funds also in the last budget for the same.
FM station: A city with more than 5 lakhs population still does not have a FM radio station. Since 2008 we are waiting for an FM station. Under Phase III of the FM radio licenses, the city can have up to 4 stations. No Private FM station as yet
KLE has started VenuDhwani on 90.4 FM a community radio station
Heritage Park at Vaccine Depot: The Vaccine depot which has a long history to it came into the limelight when there were rumors that it will be a good site for building the Suvarna Vidhan Soudha in August 2007. Environmentalists and nature lovers came together and raised a 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. Belgaum/Belagavi architect Randhir Chowgule has designed the park which will also be home to a wide variety of birds, butterflies with plenty of 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 the December 2013 Assembly session.
Now plan is under Smart city plan. Only small Weirs have been constructed nothing else.
Airport:T he 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.
Airport Runway expansion is completed, New Airport terminal building has been commissioned and now will hope to get more flights under UDAN 3.
Daily flights to Bangalore.
Fly over from NH 4 near Shankam hotel to Ashoka circle has been planned and is currently in DPR stage
Current status: DPR
Development and restoration of Fort
The project of the beautification of the fort & moat has now been put under the Smart city project and nothing has actually happened.
Current Status: Nothing happening
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. The tender was floated thrice and scrapped
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/Belagavi – 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 the 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.
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.
Current Status: No Meters implemented
Smart City Project
About 18 odd roads to be converted as Smart road not even one is complete even after 2 years. Implementation of smart City projects has been the Worst.
Drinking water Kiosks have been installed at a few places.
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.