Environment Support Group

The Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor


The Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project (BMICP) consists of the construction of a 4-lane (convertible to 6) toll, walled expressway, 5 townships and associated link roads, power plant and supporting infrastructure. The project is slated to cost upwards of Rs. 2000 crore (US$400,000,000). The townships are planned to act as population counter-magnets to Bangalore, thus helping to decongest this burgeoning city. According to project documents [1], the project will not be financially viable without the townships as they will provide a captive source of expressway tolls, being accessible mainly via the expressway. There are 2 other existing roads between Bangalore and Mysore: State Highway 17 (SH-17 or Bangalore Mysore Road), and State Highway 86 (SH-86 or Kanakpura Road) and also a railway line with several trains running daily. Furthermore there are several existing towns between these 2 cities, situated along the railway line: Ramnagaram, Chanpatna, Mandya, Maddur, Srirangpatna to name a few.

The origins of this project can be traced back to the 1980s when the government of Karnataka was interested in expanding the existing SH-17 from a 2-lane road into an expressway. They approached the Asian Development Bank, which upon commissioning a study found that SH-17 was not a candidate for conversion into an expressway due to developments along the roadside [2].

Based on a suggestion by the Karnataka Public Works Department that a road be built parallel to SH-17, tenders were called for and Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) Ltd. were the only bidders. NICE Ltd. is a consortium consisting of Kalyani Group (Pune), SAB Engineering (Pennsylvania, USA) and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB) (Boston, USA). NICE conducted its own feasibility study, which included the construction of several townships (initially 7) and an expressway (initially 6-lanes). This study was accepted by the government of Karnataka (GoK) and in 1995, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the GoK headed by then Chief Minister, Sri. H.D. Devegowda and NICE for the construction of this infrastructure corridor.

A short note on the BMICP and, other project and campaign documents provide further information.

Events in 2007

25 October 2007: BMIC Officials and MD resort to Violence and Intimidation

On 25 October 2007, ESG Team members and several international students and faculty were assaulted by a large group of men while traveling on the Peripheral Road of Bangalore from Kanakapura to Mysore Road. This dastardly attack was led by Mr. Ashok Kheny, Managing Director of M/s Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise Ltd., his PRO Mr. Manjunath, and several scores of his security men. Read the FIR filed with the police.

Events in 2005

09 June 2005: Illegal demolitions by BMTF Official to aid NICE

In a most shocking development, Shri. V. Thimappa, Suptd. Of Police, Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF), assisted by about 150 policemen engaging three JCBs and four Poclain machines, and without any backing of an executive and judicial order, began demolishing private properties in the Pilaganahalli village, near Gottigere, off Banneghatta Road. He was ostensibly engaged in this operation to aid M/s Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) and their controversial Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project (BMIC) involving the construction of an expressway and five townships between Bangalore and Mysore. Read the Press Release.

10,000 acres Excess Acquisition! The Unimaginable Land Scam that BMIC Project is Today

March, 2005 – An Expressway and Five Townships were proposed to decongest Bangalore and enable proper development of the region in 1995. All that was needed per the original technical report was 18,000 acres (appox.) of land. A decade later, there is no Expressway or the promised townships. Previously ‘confidential’ documents now prove that Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE), in collusion with key senior officials of Karnataka, have grossly abused land acquisition powers to notify 29,258 acres of land, an excess of over 10,000 acres! Thousands of small and marginal farmers who have been displaced have been provided only a pittance in compensation, but NICE now gets to sell these lands at a whopping profit at current market rates. Read the press release about this unprecedented land scam.

CM for review of BMIC

Chief Minister N Dharam Singh on Tuesday (17 August, 2004) said Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project will be reviewed and added that action will be initiated against the project promoters, Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) in case of any violations. Singh also told reporters that as a first step the state government had asked the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) not to take up township projects, until the government spelt out its view on the entire project. See articles for more details.

BMIC Project illegal per new Environmental Notification

Regardless of what the present imbroglio over the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project results in, one thing is certain: the project will now have to undergo a comprehensive and fresh review of its environmental and social impacts following a recent amendment to the Environment Impact Assessment Notification of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Further, Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) is likely to lose the controversial environmental clearance granted for the expressway component by MoEF in August 2001, as it has both changed the nature of the project from what was originally proposed (which is not allowed at all), and has not complied conditions imposed.

Krishna wants BMIC project scrapped

In a letter to Chief Minister, Mr. Dharam Singh, the former Chief Minister, Mr S. M. Krishna said that to put an end to the controversy, save thousands of acres of farmland and the environment, and in the light of the four-laning of the existing Bangalore-Mysore highway, it would be appropriate to wind up the BMIC project.

Events in 2003

Chief Minister SM Krishna’s reply to an appeal (to shelve the BMIC Project) by a campaign supporter, Ms. Nagini Prasad, Dec 23, 2003

Ms. Nagini Prasad wrote to Chief Minister SM Krishna voicing her concerns on aping western models (BMIC is based on the Columbia-Maryland model) of transport in India and how one has to consider viable alternatives in the local scenario. Read the email exchange between Nagini and the CM.

Former PM accuses CM of corruption in BMIC project, Dec 21, 2003

In an important development, former Prime Minister Shri. H. D. Devegowda , in a press conference accused the Karnataka Chief Minister Shri. S. M. Krishna, and Chief Secretary, Shri. B. S. Patil, of being deeply involved in corrupt practices in promoting the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project.

High court’s take on BMIC, Dec 18, 2003

The Karnataka High Court quashed land aquisition for acquiring lands for the construction of townships and convention centres for the BMIC Project. ESG has welcomed the order considering that the townships were crucial to cross-subsidise the expressway,(for the latter is not financially viable on its own and the townships are viewed as a captive source of expressway tolls, for they will mainly be accessible via the expressway), the project now has no standing at all. Press release.

Read letters of endorsements to the appeal and their views expressed in letters to the CM.

CM Inaugurates 4-laning work of existing SH 17 at Maddur; ESG urges CM to shelve BMIC project, Dec 17, 2003

ESG appealed to the Chief Minister of Karnataka to shelve the BMIC project when he expressed his indignation on the negligible progress on the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project (BMIC), while inaugurating the 4-laning works of the Maddur-Bangalore section of SH-17 (Bangalore Mysore Highway) on 15th Dec 2003.

Events in 2002

  • In August 2002, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) filed a case against ICICI, the lead financier of the consortium financing BMIC. This was in response to an inquiry by ESG as to the compliance of financiers of BMIC to a binding RBI directive on “Financing of Infrastructure Projects” dated February 2002. The outcome of this case is awaited.
  • Meanwhile the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) claims it is investigating the inquiry by ESG into compliance by NICE with several conditions in the MoEF conditional environmental clearance issued in August 2001.
  • The Government of Karnataka (GoK) is expected to take a major cabinet decision on BMIC in the near future. ESG is requesting all concerned citizens to take action by alerting the Chief Minister of Karnataka to the unresolved issues surrounding BMIC prior to the cabinet decision.

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Various BMIC-related documents organized by category

Note on BMIC



Only recent representations are listed below. For earlier representations, please contact us.

ESG has consistently written to the main Environmental regulatory agencies of the country concerned, the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Karnataka State Pollution Control, drawing their attention to the irregualarites and serious environmental concerns from the BMIC project. These agencies have overlooked many of them and accorded Environmental clearance to the project.

Land Acquisition related correspondence

In reading the following letters, note that the Framework Agreement signed between NICE and the Government only allows for 20,193 acres of land to be allocated to NICE for the development of the peripheral road, link road, interchanges, expressway, and townships.

  • Letter from KIADB to BMICP dated August 4, 1999 showing that NICE has requested 28,186 acres of land (as opposed to 20,193 acress it is allowed under the Framework Agreement) which KIADB has asked BMICP to sanction!
  • Letter from KIADB to BMICP dated May 22, 2004 that indicates that 29,258 acres of land had been notified under Sec 3(1) of the KIADB Act in pursuant of an agreement signed between KIADB and NICE on 14th October 1998, and that upto 2759 acres are now being denotified. The letter also concludes that land was acquired on request of NICE and not on the basis of any technical drawings or maps or the project report (Page 1Page 2)


Letters to Financial Institutions (and responses)

The role of Financial Institutions lending to this project is not transparent. ESG has deliberately sought to engage the concerned lending instituitions by seeking information on the financial aspects of the project.

ESG found that in violation of a Reserve Bank of India circular, stating that Banks should not fund Infrastructure projects based on State Government guarantees, ICICI Bank proceeded to fund the project after seeking such guarantees from the State Government. ESG registered a complaint on this violation against ICICI Bank with the RBI. Based on this complaint, RBI filed a case aganist ICICI Bank. This case was finally closed by the RBI without an investigation and merely on a reply from ICICI Bank.

Letters to Government Authorities

Letters to Elected Representatives

It is estimated that the project will affect nearly 2,00,000 people. Despite people strongly opposing this project, no effective action has been taken by the elected representatives. The project continues to recieve their tacit support. ESG raised many issues in a letter to the elected representatives of the State Legislature and Parliament urging them to take necessary action and shelve this project.



  • Supreme Court order staying the High Court order approving the Project (Page 1Page 2)


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For press coverage on BMIC issue between May 2005 – May 2007 please see here. (opens in a new window)






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Take Action

Dear Friends,

Over the past few years we have constantly addressed the many complicated issues of the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project (www.esgindia.org or www.indiatogether.org/campaigns/bmic), proposed by M/s Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise Ltd. (www.nicelimited.com). We have requested you to actively engage with various decision makers urging them to abandon this preposterous proposal. For a project that was initially mooted in 1994, there has been hardly any progress. Though there have been a variety of institutional and project support mechanisms developed in support by the Karnataka Government, still the project did not secure enough momentum and till date no physical development has been achieved.

The Chief Minister of Karnataka expressed his serious doubts on whether the project should be required at all. Reports of his statements expressing support for the widening and rationalisation of the existing highways between Bangalore and Mysore are attached/enclosed. The Karnataka Government will finally decide the fate of the BMIC project in a couple of days. It is extremely important that the Government’s decision is guided in support of securing the wider public interest, and needless to state, this would involve rejecting the BMIC Project of NICE.

As you are aware the BMIC Project involves the development of 5 new cities between Bangalore and Mysore in Karnataka State, and the building of a 6 lane toll based expressway. This project will directly affect over 180 villages in four districts and would potentially displace close to 200,000 people and destruction of 21000 acres of farm, forest and riverine areas. The cruel irony is that such displacement of farming and landless agricultural labourers, is proposed to accommodate the needs of the upwardly mobile urban middle classes.

A more appropriate model of urbanisation in this region is to strengthen and rationalise the existing road links between Bangalore and Mysore (SH-17 and NH-209) and to double and electrify the railway tracks. The Chief Minister inaugurated the 4 laning of SH-17 two days ago, when he expressed his indignation over the slow progress on BMIC.

This is an opportunity to urge the Karnataka Government to abandon BMIC in light of other more appropriate choices of urbanisation, that involve no displacement of farming communities or destruction of forest lands, and yet energise progress of existing urban areas. We have appealed to the CM to take such visionary steps, and our appeal is enclosed.

We strongly urge you to please write to the CM immediately, either by email/fax or post. You may endorse our appeal, or adapt it to suit your own appeal.

Kindly do mark a copy to us at [email protected] or our postal address which is given below. Also do mark a copy to the other officials mentioned below.

Thank you for your continuing cooperation and support.


Leo F. Saldanha/Rajmohan Pillai
Environment Support Group
S-3 Rajashree Apts.
18/57, 1st Main, SRK Gardens
Bannerghatta Road, Jayanagar
Bangalore 560041
Tel: 91-80-6341977/6534364
Telefax: 91-80-6341977
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.esgindia.org


1) Letter of Appeal to CM of Karnataka

Contact Addresses:

1. Shri. S. M. Krishna, Chief Minister, Government of Karnataka, Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore 560001. Email: [email protected] Fax: 91-80-2353115. Tel: 91-80-2253414
2. Shri T. R. Baalu, Union Cabinet Minister (Environment & Forests), Government of India – ([email protected], [email protected])
3. Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India – ([email protected])
4. Addl. Director (Scientific), Ministry of Environment & Forests, Southern Cell, Bangalore ([email protected])
5. Principal Secretary, Dept. of Ecology, Environment and Forests, Government of Karnataka ([email protected])
6. Principal Secretary, Public Works Dept., Govt of Karnataka, [email protected] or [email protected]
7. Chairman, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, M G Road, Bangalore 560001 [email protected]
8. Environment Support Group ([email protected])


Shri. S. M. Krishna
Chief Minister
Government of Karnataka
Vidhana Soudha
Bangalore 560001
17 December 2003

Reg.: Appeal to Shelve BMIC Project permanently

Respected Sir,

You have rightly expressed your indignation on the negligible progress on the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project (BMIC), when inaugurating the 4-laning works by Karnataka Road Development Corporation Ltd. (KRDCL) of the Maddur-Bangalore section of SH-17 (Bangalore Mysore Highway). You would save the State of Karnataka enormous losses and an un-sustainable financial burden, while also protecting farmers of the Bangalore Mysore region from gross injustice, if you were to firmly state that the BMIC project would be abandoned.

Such action would win you immense support from hundreds of thousands of directly affected farming and other project affected families who have been tormented for several years now by the BMIC proponents and Land Acquisition officers to give up their land.

Farmers amongst the worst affected:

Please consider this assertion by a Tahsildhar to an affected farmer in Guttigere village of Bangalore Rural District: “This is our land. We have given the land to you to grow and eat from. Other than that, there is no relation between you and the land. The land is the Government’s”.

This farmer is a fifth generation landholder, is 65 years old, and has children and grandchildren, all depending on his small farm. Completely distressed by this kind of language, which you will agree is absolutely illegal, untenable and deceiving, he feels constrained to give up his land for paltry compensation, which he claims is a fifth of the market rate. He will thus join thousands who will be abandoned by “development” the BMIC project proposes.

BMIC: A Flawed Model for urbanizationOver the years, it has been repeatedly brought to your attention and to that of many others in the decision making process, that the BMIC Project is fundamentally flawed and has been so from the very inception. Adopting the Columbia-Maryland model near Washington DC, where expressway and urban development cross-subsidize each other, this is a concept that has failed even in the USA, where mobility over long distances and affordability are hardly an issue. Further, this concept of urbanization has never been tried anywhere else. It is thus very unfortunate that the State’s precious administrative and financial resources have been vested in promoting this unwise BMIC project of M/s Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE).

NICE capacity in doubt:

NICE has never been able to demonstrate that it has the technical and financial capability to deliver such a massive project involving the development of 5 cities and a 6-lane expressway between Bangalore and Mysore. Mr. Richard Hangen, President of M/s Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. of Boston, USA, one of the companies claimed to be part of the consortium supporting BMIC, is on record that his company has had nothing to do with this project since 1995. This fact has been conveniently hidden by NICE from the State. It may also be important to note that the Registrar of Companies has listed Nandi Economic Corridor Enterprise Ltd., an associate of NICE in the BMIC project, as a defaulter during May 2003. In addition, there are many unsettled issues regarding the financing of the project, with key financier ICICI possibly in violation of RBI directives in committing support to this project.

Questionable allotment of public lands to NICE:

21,000 acres of land is demanded for its implementation, over 7,000 acres of which is Government held land. Per the Framework Agreement signed in 1997, this land would be given to NICE at only Rs. 10/acre, ostensibly on a long-term lease. Clearly this is not the kind of subsidy any project should deserve, especially when land is a precious resource, and involves total destruction of vast stretches of excellent forestland and riverine areas. In addition there is the troubling issue of the wide range of tax and cess exemptions extended to the project, depriving the State of tens of crores of rupees in revenue. There is also the issue that the governance of the proposed new towns would be outside the purview of the Constitutional 74th Amendment (Nagarpalika) Act.

Environmentally disastrous and socially unjust:

This is a disastrous project from the environmental and social impact perspectives as well. There has never been a proper appraisal of the environmental and social impacts of the project, with most reports being fudged, grossly underestimating (or never estimating) the adverse impacts on the environment. The project involves acquisition of large swathes of forest in Badamanavarthi Kaval range abutting the Bannerghatta National Park. The BMIC project would thus directly obstruct a traditional elephant corridor, and could further induce human-elephant conflicts that have been worsening in the recent past. This is also one of the few remaining natural forests of the Bangalore region, is found close to the city, and is a major ecological, learning and recreational space.

The in-principle environmental clearance granted to the expressway component of BMIC by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, many conditions were laid down. NICE has failed to comply with these conditions.

Extraction of Cauvery Water:

Extraction of water from Cauvery would increase tremendously to support the lavish lifestyles that would be characteristic in all of the BMIC townships. Per agreements reached, over 2 TMC feet of Cauvery’s water has already been allocated to this project. This is only an initial allotment, and the project is definitely designed to extract much more water in future. Besides burdening the farmers by limiting their use of the river waters for agriculture, the project is likely to further accentuate Karnataka’s knotty issue with Tamilnadu over sharing of waters.

Another significant issue of concern is the adverse impact this project would have on River Cauvery basin as construction of townships and an expressway could physically alter the drainage pattern, especially in the immediate vicinity of the river. This is particularly true between Mahadevapura and Srirangapatna where the proposed BMIC expressway and the golf tourism township would occupy vast stretches alongside the river.

Lack of transparency in BMIC project clearance:

There has been little or no transparency in decision making on this project. Public involvement has been obstructed actively, and marked by serious human rights violations to suppress dissent. In Statutory Public Hearings, State and Company representatives have actively engaged in obstructing affected farmers from participating and targeted groups and individuals who have raised concerns about the project. With little regard to the rule of law, many were brutally removed from such forums.

For a Visionary and Appropriate Development of the Bangalore-Mysore Corridor:

Sir, now that you have embarked on a much-needed project to widen and rationalise the existing SH-17 highway to four lanes, it would be a prudent and popular decision if you firmly rejected the BMIC project. Hundreds of old trees have already been felled in preparation for the widening of SH-17 and land necessary has already been acquired up to Maddur. Farmers from Maddur to Mysore, who seemingly oppose this widening initiative, as they would lose highly irrigated lands, should have no reason to oppose if convinced that no further lands will be acquired, particularly for the immensely unpopular and disastrous BMIC project.

The 4 laning of Bangalore-Mysore Road (SH-17) is expected to cost Rs. 330 crores and is open to all. The BMIC project, in comparison, is projected to cost a minimum of Rs. 4000 crores; even this large figure is considered to be a gross underestimate. Further, the expressway is toll based and will not benefit farmers. The townships proposed are gated and exclusive, providing no economic benefit whatsoever to local communities.

The SH-17 expansion requires a little over 100 acres, and will be complete in 2 years. The expressway component alone of BMIC will consume about 7000 acres and even the most conservative estimates project its completion date to a decade, or more.

The cruel irony is that thousands of farmers and landless labourers will lose land, livelihood and household, so housing can be developed for an upwardly mobile urban class.

Promoting Railway Corridor Development and Intensive Development of existing urban areas:

The Southern Railways have proposed that the doubling and electrification of the existing broad gauge railway line between Bangalore and Mysore is clearly feasible. Such a development will tremendously boost communication and transport, and be affordable to one and all. Even with low project costs high returns can be expected by boosting industrial and commercial development in the region.

It has also been attractively proposed that high density housing, along with requisite commercial, educational, cultural and health facilities could easily be developed on large stretches of public lands available in Railway Stations at Bidadi, Ramanagara, Channapatna, Maddur, Mandya and Srirangapatna. Doubling and electrifying tracks allow for faster travel speeds, making it possible to work in Bangalore or Mysore, and yet enjoy living in any of these smaller urban areas. Such development will not cause displacement of farming communities or acquisition of forest and common lands. Instead it will aid these old urban areas economically and make them culturally vibrant cosmopolitan communities. Most importantly, it will aid in relieving Bangalore of the high pressure of development that its weak infrastructure is now unable to bear.

The expansion of SH-17, the doubling of the Bangalore Mysore railway line and the strengthening of NH-209 and its link to Mysore (Kanakapura Road) could together remain a long term solution in supporting progressive urban and infrastructure development to the benefit of all.

We urge you to adopt a just and visionary approach, and thus reject the BMIC project.

Yours sincerely,

Environment Support Group

Leo F. Saldanha        Rajmohan Pillai        Bhargavi S. Rao    Mallesh K. R.      Deepashree      Harminder Kaur

Sarita Deshmukh    Dr. Subramanya Sastry      Dr. Ananth Chikkatur      Padmashree Raghavan        Nagini Prasad


1. Shri. S. M. Krishna, Chief Minister, Government of Karnataka, Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore 560001. Email: [email protected] Fax: 91-80-2353115. Tel: 91-80-2253414
2. Shri T. R. Baalu, Union Cabinet Minister (Environment & Forests), Government of India – ([email protected], [email protected])
3. Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India – ([email protected])
4. Addl. Director (Scientific), Ministry of Environment & Forests, Southern Cell, Bangalore ([email protected])
5. Principal Secretary, Dept. of Ecology, Environment and Forests, Government of Karnataka ([email protected])
6. Principal Secretary, Public Works Dept., Govt of Karnataka, [email protected] or [email protected]
7. Chairman, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, M G Road, Bangalore 560001 [email protected]
8. Environment Support Group ([email protected])

1. “Proceedings of the Government of Karnataka, Sub: Implementation of the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project under BOOT concept”, Clause 5.0 and 8.0, Annex 2 to the Executive Summary of the Environmental Impact and Socio-economic Assessment Report for Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor, by MECON Ltd., October 1999

2. “Roadblocks to an expressway”, Ravi Sharma, Frontline Volume 19 – Issue 02, Jan. 19 – Feb. 01, 2002

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