Wednesday, September 30, 2009

At least 300 trees around Vidhana Soudha can be saved’

At least 300 trees around Vidhana Soudha can be saved’
Metro station beneath Race Course land ideal: Reddy
Bangalore, Sep 29, DH News Service:

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation can avoid felling of at least 300 trees around Vidhana Soudha by avoiding construction of an underground metro station near High Court.


Once the Bangalore Turf Club moves out, the Race Course land could be used for an underground station for the Bangalore Metro.
Advocating this to save heritage buildings and preserve green cover, is Dr Yellappa Reddy, who last week resigned as Chairman of the Environment Impact Assessment and Monitoring Committee (EIAMC) constituted by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL).

He resigned on the grounds that BMRCL is not heeding to the suggestions given by the Committee.

Asked what exactly was the suggestion by the Committee which was not conceded by the BMRCL, Reddy said, “a station will be constructed near Jnana Jyothi auditorium in the Central College premises, another near the cricket stadium near Cubbon Park. Vidhana Soudha and High Court are just about 600 mts away from these stations. Then, can we not avoid a station near the secretariat?”
Reddy wants a portion of Race Course land for an underground metro rail station instead of that planned along Vidhana Soudha and High Court.

“Why should they cut hundreds of trees for a metro station. The race course is not too far from Vidhana Soudha, High Court and even Central College. They can construct a station beneath the club land. All it needs is just 200 sq feet of land. We can save the traffic problem and money along with our heritage buildings,” he explained.
Reddy said the committee which was constituted when Madhu was heading BMRCL had not convened a single meeting in the last two years.

He said in the recent past about 700 trees have already been cut in the vicinity of Vidhana Soudha. Maximum efforts should be made to save each and every tree to ensure that the area, which has three heritage buildings, do not reduce into a desert.
He said that the race course is a huge grass patch with no significant tree cover and felling of trees can be totally avoided, if the metro rail alignment shifts to the race course.
“ We can develop lawns over it and beautify it by landscaping it later on. It works out very cheap compared to the existing alignment the BMRCL has taken up now,” he said.

Not too late
Isn’t it too late to change the blue print of the metro phase I? For this Reddy said, “We know the importance of the metro project. The authorities want to fell trees even for movement of vehicles to the construction sites. We suggested them to go in for prefabricated moulds. Even that was not considered. Can we allow trees, which are 150 years old, to be uprooted to help some contractors? In all, 1,900 trees will have to be cut for implementing the metro work.”

Asked whether his resignation has been accepted by the BMRCL, he said he was unaware as there has been no communication from the BMRCL. Speaking on the circumstances which led to his resignation, he said, “If there was any trees to be cut, they wanted the committee. But they never called us for planning, never took us for any inspection of the spot, “ he said.

He said that the station can be connected with a skywalk or some other tunnel to Vidhana Soudha premises so that it can be a hassle-free walk.

Wrong calculations
Criticising BMRCL that it will ferry about four lakh passengers once the under ground station comes up at Vidhana Soudha, he said that the company has got the calculations wrong and should not be secretive about the work taken up by them.
When contacted, Dr Parameshwar said the Committee was not consulted to discuss technical aspects for the last two years. “There was no point in continuing the panel in such situation,” he added.

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