Thursday, August 20, 2009

Namma Metro seeks a slice of Cubbon park for the project

High Court nod sought for new buildings within Cubbon Park

B.S. Ramesh
Court has banned construction in the park

Namma Metro seeks a slice of the park for the project

BANGALORE: In what could raise the hackles of environmentalists, two government agencies and the Election Commission have sought the permission of the Karnataka High Court to construct additional buildings in the Cubbon Park.

All the three establishments have filed applications before the High Court seeking its permission to expand their office space. The applications were filed before the High Court as the court had several years ago banned construction in the park and also asked the State not to alter the boundaries of Cubbon Park.

Additional floor
All the three applications are likely to come up for hearing shortly. In the first application, the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, has moved the court seeking its permission to construct an additional floor atop its existing premises in Cubbon Park. The office is located next to the KGID building and the application was filed by Joint Chief Electoral Officer B.V. Kulkarni.

The application says the office of the Chief Electoral Officer is located in a single-storeyed building measuring 5,456 square feet. It says it needs additional floor space to house a data centre it plans to set up to take care of electronic revision of electoral rolls, a ladies’ room, conference and meeting halls.

Responsible
It says elections to the Legislative Assembly, Legislative Council, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are conducted by it. Moreover, it is entirely responsible for revision of electoral rolls. Since there is electronic revision of rolls, there is a need to set up an excusive data centre. As 10 per cent of the staff are women, there is a need to set up a ladies’ room.

The office has been housed in the same premises for 50 years and urged the High Court to modify its earlier order and permit construction of an additional floor.

Other departments too
Apart from the Election Office, the Public Works Department and the Horticulture Department too have filed applications seeking permission to construct buildings.

The Horticulture Department says its office in Cubbon Park is located adjacent to the Lawn Tennis courts.

It says the building is in a dilapidated condition and seeks the court nod for reconstruction and repair of the building.

The PWD, in its application, has urged the court to permit it to construct new canteens on a temporary basis at a cost of Rs. 29.30 lakh. The PWD says no trees could be cut down and that the structures would be temporary.

All the applications are expected to come up for hearing along with the main petition relating to ban on any new construction on Cubbon Park.

Namma Metro
Besides these organisations, Namma Metro has also sought a slice of the Cubbon Park for the metro project. Namma Metro temporarily wants to convert the lawns of the High Court for forming a road when Ambedkar Veedhi would be closed to traffic.

It also wants land near the nursery adjoining the GPO and Gopala Gowda Circle for constructing ventilators for the underground metro station.

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