Tuesday, November 03, 2009

New bench to hear case of Cubbon metro station

New bench to hear case of Cubbon metro station

Judges feel need for more specialised knowledge of topography

PK Surendran. Bangalore



The writ petition challenging the proposed underground Cubbon Park metro station between Vidhan Soudha and High Court was shifted to a bench headed by Justice V Gopala gowda on Monday.
The division bench comprising chief justice PD Dinakaran and Justice Mohan Shantana Goudar suggested the shift. The bench said that since it did not have sufficient knowledge of the landscape and topography of the area, it would be better for someone with better knowledge of the details to deal with the case.
The petition, filed by entrepreneur-environmentalist Bimal Desai, argued that the underground station would be an environmental folly; it would also endanger landmark buldings like the Vidhana Soudha and the high court.
The plaintiff's lawyer, MG Kumar, submitted a 13-page objection seeking to get the Cubbon Park metro station declared illegal, as it is violative of the Karnataka Park (Preservation) Act-1975 and subsequent government orders. He also sought an environment impact assessment of the metro project by a competent authority, as required by the law.
The petitioner argued that there were two other metro stations coming up within a distance of only about 500 metres from this site, one at the Minsk Square and the other at Central College. He argued that the station proposed between the pivotal institutions could thus be dispensed with.
The station will damage the Vidhana Soudha and the high court, and destroy part of Cubbon Park, thus denying the city's residents their rights to clean air. "The underground station will further deplete green cover of the park, which has lost 1/3 of its original greenery to the roads around it. Some 35 buildings have already encroached the park. The horticulture department has agreed that the park today is only 192 acres, as against 300 acres a century ago. Trees that are hundreds of years old and thickets will be lost for ever, " the petitioner said.
He also called the metro's high-powered committee for environment a farce, as it comprises people with little knowledge of the environment. There are no scientists or botanists, as required by the Environment Protection Act 1980, he said.

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