Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Right being ‘corrected’: Lake to be the ‘victim’

Right being ‘corrected’: Lake to be the ‘victim’
Deccan Herald

Call it off-track development, if you will. This time, in alleged deviation from a government notification. The project in question is Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA)’s proposed 21-km high-speed expressway connecting Outer Ring Road (ORR) to the upcoming International Airport in Devanahalli.

The road starts off as a 200-feet wide, elevated 1.65-km stretch (from the proposed interchange on ORR up to Vadarapalya). According to residents and potential land losers in HRBR Layout (survey no 85, Challakere Village, K R Puram Hobli), the alignment originally notified on 02-03-07 was on a different trajectory, causing less damage to the Challakere lake bed.

The case is of right being “corrected” to wrong, according to Mr Ramanujan, a resident and potential land loser.

“The officials who marked the new dimensions asked us for proof to call the markings flawed. There are two issues here: one, they treat a government notification as inconsequential and two, even if the notification was actually faulty, the public needs to know how,” he said.

The expressway project involves acquisition of 638.10 acres of land from villages including Banaswadi, Challakere, Horamavu Agara, Bhairathi, Kyalasonahalli, Doddagubbi, Chikkagubbi, Bagalur and Hoovinayakanahalli. The total extent of land required for the project in survey no 85 in Challakere (as per the March 2 notification) is 6.55 acres.

“Since the first portion of the expressway will be elevated, we have to build the stretch on pillars erected on the lake bed. We are also working on a separate programme to rejuvenate the lake,” Metropolitan Commissioner Sudhir Krishna told Deccan Herald. However, residents countered the proposal saying that there was no need for “rejuvenation” of the lake in the first place, because the alignment in the notification would have caused minimal damage to the lake bed.

Protecting interests:

All it takes for the officialdom is, perhaps, a corrigendum for the March 3 notification to be revoked, but the residents are looking at the bigger picture.

They alleged that the alignment had been shifted to protect a playground area attached to a neighbourhood school.

The school had last year entered into a lake adoption programme in association with the Lake Development Authority (LDA), under which it was entrusted with the maintenance and rejuvenation of the Challakere lake, on a Rs 89-lakh budget.

The one-year adoption period will complete by April, but the residents alleged that encroachment, and not development, has been the norm.

“Even if pillars are going to be erected as per the new alignment to avoid laying the road on the lake bed, the concrete that will be filled into the bed will trigger serious issues,” Mr Ramanujan said. Mr Krishna said BMRDA was considering “various concerns” raised by residents of the area, including loss of property to the project. The expressway is set for a late 2008 launch.


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