Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Raj era relic poses a problem

Raj era relic poses a problem
War memorial site is host to a long-forgotten century-old pipeline; shifting it will not be easy
MANASI PARESH KUMAR


Apiece of British-era history has put the brakes on work on the National Military Memorial at the Indira Gandhi Musical Park near Raj Bhavan. BDA, which is executing the project, came across a century-old pipeline ten feet underground during the excavation work.
The pipeline, dating back to 1898, was meant to supply water to Raj Bhavan (then the official residence of the Commissioner). It had remained hidden for more than a century till its presence was revealed by BDA’s earth-mover.
It took an entire day for BWSSB to figure out the purpose of the ancient pipeline. There were no maps or plans that pointed to its existence. “The pipeline is more than a century old and runs from Raj Bhavan to the BWSSB office at Ali Asker Road. Beyond that, we don’t know if it is a live line or not,” said officials.
Finally, after a lot of digging, BWSSB found that it was an 18-inch cast iron pipeline that was part of the five-km stretch that ran from the High Grounds reservoir to Ulsoor and supplied water to defence colonies, including Cariappa Layout. “This is the same line that we had shifted next to Raj Bhavan, but we had done nothing at the Indira Gandhi park because it was not going to disturbed. The line just has to be shifted,” said Venkataraju, Chief Engineer (Maintenance), BWSSB. Even so, BDA will have to pay BWSSB for the shifting of the line, an unbudgeted amount that could run into lakhs.
IT’S A MESS
The residents’ worst fears have come true as the dug-up earth for the construction has been dumped all over the park, including the area that has not been allotted for the war memorial. Murali Krishna, the supervising engineer with the private contractor who has been given the project, said BDA has asked to dump the earth around the park so that it can later be used for landscaping.
MEMORIAL TIMELINE
February 10,2009: Foundation stone for memorial laid by CM B S Yeddyurappa along with Rajeev Chandrashekar who is the brain behind the project.
March 18, 2010: Details of the project begin to trickle out. Mirror carries story on plans to fell 31 trees. Chandrashekar says four trees will be cut.
April 1, 2010: Governor writes to CM objecting to the memorial. Local residents file a PIL. BDA begins works, but is forced to stop due to protests.
April 7, 2010: Mirror carries story on 18 trees being felled with permission from forest department. Chandrashekar refutes the number.
April 9, 2010: Chandrashekar apprises governor about project,says the memorial will be built underground
April 12, 2010: Residents apprise governor about their concerns.
April 15, 2010: Former chief conservator of forests C H Basappanavar tells Mirror that no building under a living tree will ever be safe.
June 4, 2010: HC dismisses PIL. Residents decide to move Supreme Court.


I AM NOT AWARE OF ‘THE WATER PIPELINE OF RAJ BHAVAN AND VIDHANA SOUDHA PASSING THROUGH THE PARK AND COMING IN THE WAY OF WORK. I WILL SPEAK TO THE OFFICIALS AND MAKE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS FOR ITS REMOVAL WITHOUT AFFECTING THE WATER SUPPLY
— Chief Minister
B S Yeddyurappa

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