Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bangalore Turf Club asked to shift out in six months

Bangalore Turf Club asked to shift out in six months

Staff Reporter
Government directed to keep the premises green and clean
No buildings to come up on the premises

Be serious about caring for water bodies: Bench

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) on Monday won a breather when the Karnataka High Court gave it time till September 22, 2010 to shift from the present Racecourse Road premises. The court also struck down the grant of 85 acres at Doddajala Ammanikere by the State Government to the BTC for an alternative racecourse.

A Division Bench comprising Justices V. Gopala Gowda and B.S. Patil passed the order on petitions by the Bangalore Turf Club, the Turf Club Staff Association and others challenging the decision of the State Government to shift the BTC from Racecourse Road to Doddajala and also directed the authorities to maintain supply of water and power to the BTC.

Dismissing all petitions, except a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition questioning the grant of a lake-bed to the BTC, the Bench directed the State Government to ensure that the Racecourse Road premises was not used for any commercial activity and that it be maintained as a lung space.

Tree-felling

Taking note of the large-scale felling of trees on and around Racecourse Road and the failure of the authorities to plant trees, the court repeatedly asked the State to desist from putting up any construction on any place in the present BTC area that covers 90 acres, and to maintain it as a mini-forest.

It said, “We are compelled and constrained to observe large-scale felling of trees around Racecourse Road for widening of roads. Everybody, including the Government, must take steps to compensate this interference with nature.”

It said this could be balanced at least in a small manner if small flowering plants were planted. “In our view, the Government has to take this opportunity to create a green paradise as was done centuries ago while creating Lalbagh and Cubbon Park. Such a contribution will be remembered for generations and it will come as a gift to the residents of Bangalore,” the Bench observed.

Blasting the State Government for failing to protect water bodies, the Bench said it was the duty of the State to preserve and protect the Dodajala Ammanikere.

It said the lake land had been granted to the BTC without giving any serious thought to the fundamental objective of the State to preserve and protect water bodies. “It is high time that a scientific assessment is made before taking decisions that meddle with the precious gifts of nature,” the judges said. The court asked the BTC to deposit Rs. 5 lakh every month as lease amount till the lease expired.

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