Friday, April 23, 2010

HC reserves judgment on national war memorial

HC reserves judgment on national war memorial

Odeal D'Souza. Bangalore

The Karnataka high court on Thursday reserved its judgment on a petition challenging the construction of a national war memorial at the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain park.
The public interest litigation (PIL), filed by members of the Krishna Apartment Welfare Association living near the park, is being heard by a division bench headed by justice Manjula Chellur.
The PIL claims that the memorial was a violation of the Karnataka Government Parks Preservation Act, 1975, and seeks to stop the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) from cutting trees for the memorial.
The BDA had been claiming that it would cut down just four trees for the memorial, the petition said. However, details obtained through the Right to Information Act, revealed that the BDA planned to cut 16 trees, it said.
On Thursday, the BDA counsel told the court that five trees — four eucalyptus and one Ashoka — would be felled. The eucalyptus trees did not help preserve ecology, the counsel said.
Advocate-general Ashok Haranahalli told the court that the memorial would be underground, with landscaping on top of it.
The advocate for the petitioners, Thiruvengadam, wanted to know how a memorial could be made underground by cutting just four-five trees. The memorial would affect the ecology and restrict the movement of people in the park, he said. There would be no proper lung space in the park if seven acres were to be taken away for the memorial.
Uday Holla, the counsel representing the National Military Memorial Committee, said the petitioners were objecting to the memorial a year-and-half after orders were passed (on September 17, 2008) for its construction. "More than 15,000 people from Karnataka have given their lives for the country. We need to remember them," he said

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