Sunday, February 14, 2010

Underground Metro in legal wrangles

BMRCL WAITS FOR HC NOD ON SOUDHA STATION - Underground Metro in legal wrangles

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While the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) is pushing ahead with work on ReachOne of the Metro Rail between MG Road and Byappanahalli to meet the December 2010 deadline for the train to begin operations on this stretch, it can do little about the underground section of the Metro at Minsk Square and Vidhana Soudha until the legal wrangles are sorted out.
The matter could come up in court next week as the expert committee constituted to look into the environmental impact of the Metro going underground in this section has submitted its report, according to BMRCL spokesperson B. L.
Yeshwant Chavan.

"Until the high court gives its nod we cannot start work on this stretch of the Metro," he explains, however assuring that the BMRCL will try to stick to the deadline for this section of the Metro as well. The court has been looking into a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an advocate G.R. Mohan, who contended that the blasting and other work for the underground Metro Rail could damage both the high court building and the Vidhana Soudha. Also, he saw no reason why there should be two stations within 500 metres of each other on this stretch and suggested the one at Vidhana Soudha should be scrapped. Congress leaders like V.S. Ugrappa and Siddaramaiah too joined the chorus for cutting down the number of stations on this section of the Metro.

Environmentalists fuelled the controversy by objecting to acquisition of land and felling of trees in Cubbon Park to build an alternate road to allow the Metro work to go on unhindered.
Responding to the PIL, the high court ordered the setting up a committee with the chief secretary, high court registrar general, additional commissioner of police (traffic), director of the National Institute of Rock Mechanics, a professor in hydrology from the IISc and an independent environmentalist as members to go into the matter in detail.

While the BMRCL is awaiting its orders based on the committee's report, it has begun the process of commissioning work on the underground Metro in other parts of the city and has called for tenders in some sections, according to sources.


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