Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sacrilege: Metro eats into Lalbagh

Namma Metro set to shrink Lalbagh
By P M Raghunandan, DH News Service, Bangalore:
It's not only property owners of Bangalore but also the Horticulture Department that has had to sacrifice a bit of its land for allowing Namma Metro to pass through.

But this bit of land — around a quarter of an acre — will be taken from the Lalbagh Botanical Garden.

So Lalbagh, which is one of the City’s major lung spaces and is spread over 250 acres, will shrink by 1,135 sq metres. And in the process about 35 trees will be axed. The State Executive Committee on January 17, 2007 approved the handing over of 1,135 sq meters of Lalbagh land (along R V Road) to the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation to implement the proposed Namma Metro project.

The Executive Committee, however, kept the subject under wraps fearing a backlash from Greens, official sources told Deccan Herald. Besides, the Executive Committee has decided to amend the Karnataka Park and Preservation Act 1975 to clear the hurdles for a smooth takeover of the portion of Lalbagh. “In the absence of the Legislature to amend the Act, the Executive Committee decided to place it before Parliament in the next session,” the sources said. The Act forbids any non-horticulture activity inside Lalbagh.

BMRC has proposed to construct the Lalbagh station of the Namma Metro on R V Road abutting the park. It will take over a patch of Lalbagh measuring 5 meters wide and 135 meters long and starting from the West gate towards the South End circle. The existing compound facing R V Road will be pulled down for the acquisition, BMRC Managing Director V Madhu said. The State Horticulture department was also against the takeover. Department officials at several meetings held in the past, had asked BMRC to look for an alternative land and to keep off Lalbagh.

However, the stretch of the land that will be acquired has eucalyptus grove, besides some rocky terrain.
The BMRC officials ruled out any change in the Metro alignment, as work was already on in full pace. The Executive Committee has also decided to hand over 1,123 sq meters of the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park along T Chowdiah Road to the BBMP , to widen the existing road.

The BBMP will also widen the road to ensure smooth flow of traffic to the Devanahalli airport.


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