Minsk Square, located in the nerve center of the southern Indian state of Karnataka’s capital Bengaluru, has been the focus of heated controversy – and received a new twist on Monday after an announcement by the new Prime Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
The matter comes to a head because a two-meter-high bang in the middle of the busy intersection has been causing massive traffic jams for several years at rush hour.
The ledge, which is part of a two-meter traffic island, was built a few years ago over the Cubbon Road subway station and remains a bone of contention because the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) refused to move it or tear it down.
A new high-speed metro connection is now planned to continue from the Cubbon Park metro station, which is located below the square, to Kempegowda International Airport in Devanahalli.
On Monday, Bommai announced plans to build a high-speed rail link from Bengaluru to the airport.
The planned 37-kilometer project shortens the travel time to the airport to just 20 minutes. It currently takes up to two hours to get from the airport to the city center.
Rajkumar Dugar, founder and convener of Citizens for Citizens (C4C), a non-governmental organization (NGO), told the Khaleej Times on Tuesday that although the problem of ledge traffic growls has been picked up by several authorities over the years, efforts have been made in vain.
“The lead on the traffic island hindered the smooth flow of traffic. Even the traffic police have repeatedly asked the BMRCL to remove it, ”he said.
He added: “The head start creates enormous bottlenecks that aggravate the suffering of motorists, two-wheelers and commuters who use public transport. According to the traffic police, vehicles suddenly switch from one extreme of the four-lane road to the other end near the square, which sometimes even leads to accidents. “
The plans to relocate the pier were underway at the initiative of the traffic police.
However, Bommai’s announcement of the new connection to the airport will put an end to the proposal.
A BMRCL official told media representatives that the pier was being built to ensure the development of the new route to the airport.
The square, which is close to the major hubs of the metropolis, including MG Road, Raj Bhavan and Cubbon Road, has seen many changes over the decades.
It previously featured a model of Ajeet, a single-seat jet-propelled fighter aircraft manufactured by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the copyright of which was owned by the British Folland Gnat.
The aircraft was held in place after being decommissioned in 1991.
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In 2015, a full-scale mock-up of Tejas, India’s light fighter aircraft (LCA), replaced the statue of an unknown soldier that appeared after the mosquito was moved. But that too was postponed.
The colorfully highlighted square is named after a “sister city” in 1990 after the Belarusian capital Minsk – one year before the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) split into the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and it became an independent country.