Friday, July 17, 2009

We will compensate say Metro officials

We will compensate say Metro officials
By: Chetan R Date: 2009-07-16 Place:Bangalore

They also claim that only 100 wells will be plugged but are yet to publish the project's Environment Impact Assessment Study notification of 2006

No one knows yet, but about three lakh borewells will be plugged for Namma Metro work, leaving at least a million Bangaloreans with no water source.

The Metro line goes underground for about 9 km, and will affect the water source for borewells.

Metro officials haven't told anyone yet, but planners are wondering how the shortfall in drinking water will be met. Some three lakh borewells will dry up, a source in Vidhana Soudha told MiD DAY.

Bane? Work on the north-south corridor continues pic/Vinod Kumar T

With each borewell serving at least five people, the number of those affected will touch at least 15 lakh.

"Water sources downstream will be ruined completely," said Captain Rajarao, former environment secretary.

"Metro officials should answer how they are going to compensate the loss."

Worst side effect

Namma Metro is being commissioned in two phases. Phase I covers about 42 km, and includes two corridors, east-west and north-south.

While the east-west corridor runs from Byappanahalli to Mysore Road via Old Madras road, CMH Road, Ulsoor, Trinity Circle, Magadi Road and Vijaynagar, the north-south corridor runs from Hesarghatta Cross to Puttenahalli runs via Dasarahalli, Jalahalli, Peenya, Malleswaram, Majestic, City Market, K R Road, Jayanagar and J P Nagar.

"The impact on borewells is one of the worst side effects of the project," said a source in the chief minister's office.

It costs the government

Rs 250 crore for every km of underground work, as compared to Rs 165 over the surface.

Most households adjacent to the ground routes and stations rely on borewell water.

15 km impact

The work will affect places up to 15 km from the site of construction, say experts.

"Many households in Bangalore rely on borewells even for drinking," explained Rajarao. "And they are clueless their taps will run dry."

Metro officials are taking undue advantage of the Environment Impact Assessment Study notification of 2006, which exempts the railways from publishing such a study, an expert said. They have no Environment Management Plan either.

"This will cost Bangaloreans dear as borewells will soon dry out permanently. The Metro officials aren't proposing any alternatives," said Rajarao.

Metro denial

However, Metro officials say only 44 borewells and 68 open wells are likely to be affected.

But their website doesn't forget to add that "additional plugging would be considered, based on further investigation".

"BWSSB will compensate the loss to those losing their water sources," said N Sivashailam, MD, Namma Metro, who referred us to the BMRCL website when we asked about the number of borewells to be plugged.

But experts are worried the BWSSB can't supply water to all citizens losing their water source, and hope the judiciary will intervene.

"The BWSSB is already struggling. Now can they supply water to this new lot? The Metro figures look all cooked up," Raja Rao told MiD DAY.

Water sources downstream will be ruined completely
Captain Rajarao, former environment secretary

How to kill a borewell
>>Remove the casing
>>Fill the tube space with concrete
>>Seal it

Metro officials will also use concrete to block the main source (the nearest stream) permanently. The Metro route has about three lakh borewells, some approved and many not.


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