BENGALURU: Over 30 citizen-volunteers got together to clean the under on Saturday morning to rid it of unwanted posters and the junk that tends to accumulate in the oft-neglected space. Once the drive is completed, the under flyover (UFO) space will boast a safe, pedestrian walking zone, a green landscaping area and a seating area.
Project UFO is a joint initiative of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike () and The Ugly Indian (TUI), a group of anonymous volunteers, who along with companies or citizen groups plan to adopt flyovers and transform the space they arch over within three-four months to keep it off-limits for anti-social elements.

Called one of the largest voluntary mass citizen-government partnership focused on a single neglected public space – the space under flyovers, the project aims to clean up these black spots and maintain them through community vigilance. While an encouraging, informal start was made at the Domlur flyover earlier this year, where a skating rink was set up for local youths, the aim is to expand the project to 35 other flyovers across the city soon.

A volunteer from TUI said the idea behind developing the underbelly of flyovers was to bring back a pleasant atmosphere to the neglected space and make it safe for everyone to use. The Veeranapalya flyover was shortlisted when L&T Technology Services, working out of Manyata Tech Park, expressed an interest to better the road infrastructure leading to the tech park.

“The next event is planned on August 15, where employees and their families will come for a morning of hands-on work. While professional contractors will work on the civil works, landscaping and other aspects of this development, volunteer involvement is a crucial component. The local community is also being involved with the idea of getting everyone together to create a community space that will benefit everyone who lives, works or passes the Veeranapalya UFO space,” said a TIU representative.

While this is the first instance of the TUI, BBMP and a corporate teaming up specifically to develop UFOs, spot-fixes have helped fix 36 flyover systems in the last three years to deter defacement. Over 700 are presently “under protection” and presence of illegal posters has been contained in 95% cases under the watch of concerned citizens with Anand Rao Circle, Lingarajapuram and KR Market still attracting vandals. The same model has also been extended to 300 Namma Metro pillars as well.

TIU claims the success is due to their “poster-repellent design” that applies a standard attractive format — the interlocking triangles design — to deter vandalism. The logic is that people would not want to spoil a common, aesthetically beautiful space provided it is well maintained. They are presently hoping to work on more of the remaining 35 flyover systems in the city including Richmond Circle, Silk Board, Hebbal, Bellandur, Devarabisanahalli, Agara, HSR, Tin Factory, Kalyan Nagar and Nagawara and reinstate them as community spaces.

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