Monday, January 04, 2010

Will HC come to green belt’s rescue today?

Will HC come to green belt’s rescue today?
Felling Of Trees Continues On GKVK Campus Petitioners Desperate For Stay Order On Road Work
Jayashree Nandi | TNN

Bangalore: While the last high court hearing brought hope for this green belt in the concrete jungle that Bangalore has become, the legality of felling of trees on the GKVK campus for a road project is yet to decided.
The court had asked stakeholders to suggest members for formation of a panel to review the ecological impact of the project. The constitution of the committee will be determined at the hearing on Monday. Almost 700 trees have been chopped on the campus, as opposed to the 343 that BBMP had obtained permission for.
“The high court in March 2009 asked the BBMP to file an affidavit stating how it had complied with the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, and the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act. However, the affidavit shows no compliance with either of the Acts,” said advocate Sunil Dutt Yadav.
Construction is being carried forward at a rapid pace. According to residents, almost 25% of the
work is over. Trees have been chopped and the ground has been levelled.
“It will be good to have members from the university, from the department of ecology, genetics, endomology... They will be able to highlight the loss and the great vacuum that this road will create. Even if the stay order comes late, it’s better to stop work and not use the road at all. In principle, everyone realizes what a disaster this is. The fear of getting dragged into a controversy is keeping many away,” said C R Bharath, one of the petitioners in the case.
The university’s advocate said UAS has lost 24 acres of its land, which was used for research by farmers and scientists. Most of it is forest land according to revenue records. “The university cannot convert this patch of land for any purpose except research. There has been no compliance of law... They have violated the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act and the Forest Conservation Act,” he told TOI.
He said the project has also led to the loss of Schedule 1 and 2 species of birds and butterflies, which used to visit the campus because of its varied biodiversity.
The petitioners sais the review by the expert committee will not be of any use if there is no stay order on the project. Construction is progressing very rapidly and much of the damage will be done by the time the committee reviews the impact.
According to BBMP officials, almost 50 to 70% of the project is over. “It is almost about to be completed. The case will most likely be dissolved tomorrow. The university itself has violated so many laws. They have made buildings, open-air theatres on that area. What are they opposing?” said an official.


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