Shivakumar’s remark on Siddaramaiah's ‘fear’ adds fuel to rift between themtext_fields
Bengaluru: Adding fuel to the already existing rivalry between Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, the latter’s recent remark over the lack of courage of Siddaramaiah triggered a controversy.
Shivakumar claimed that had he been in power, the project to build the Hebbal steel flyover back in 2017, which had to be abandoned after a backlash from civil society and environmentalists, would have proceeded regardless of the consequences. However, his remark that CM Siddaramaiah was scared of protestors became controversial.
During the Kempegowda Jayanti event held at Vidhana Soudha, Shivakumar expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision to scrap the project due to protests and environmental concerns. Shivakumar accused Siddaramaiah and the then Bengaluru City Development minister, KJ George, of giving in to the uproar and criticism surrounding the project.
The proposed Steel Flyover project aimed to alleviate congestion in the Hebbal area and improve connectivity to the Kempegowda International Airport. However, it faced strong opposition from residents and welfare groups who raised concerns about the potential loss of green cover due to the removal of over 800 trees. The mounting environmental concerns eventually led to the government halting the project.
Shivakumar's remarks have triggered a backlash, with many citizens taking to Twitter to demand an apology. Critics argue that his statement undermines the principles of democracy and shows a disregard for the environmental impact of such projects.
The controversial Steel Flyover project, initially planned as a 6.7-kilometre stretch from Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal Junction, had an estimated cost of Rs 1,761 crore. The decision to abandon the project by the Siddaramaiah government became a focal point in the ongoing debate surrounding infrastructure development and environmental conservation in Bengaluru.