Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Greens, HC panel lock horns

Greens, HC panel lock horns

Bangalore: The friction between environmentalists and the high court-empowered committee on road widening came to the boil over tree felling for Namma Metro and road-widening projects taken up by the Brihat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
Environmentalists and civic groups have alleged that though the empowered committee should include the public and other stakeholders in their deliberations, they were not doing so. The groups had approached the Lok Adalat to resolve the issue and make the system more transparent. As per the Lok Adalat order on November 19, the empowered committee held a meeting on Monday at the BBMP office.
Representatives of public groups like Hasiru Usiru, Environment Support Group (ESG), CIVIC, Citizen Action Forum and Samuha also attended the meeting. Their suggestions and issues were put forth, some were deliberated but the committee decided to come back with responses on the next meeting on December 10. BBMP tree officer and member-secretary of the committee, M R Suresh, said the complainants had come before the committee and presented their suggestions. “We deliberated on some; we will also discuss some later and come back on December 10. They can put forth their suggestions but cannot dictate to the committee. We are here to take responsible decisions,’’ he said.
Some of the points put forward by the groups were that the committee should work in compliance with the Town and Country Planning Act, and that they be more transparent with respect to the planning of road widening and Metro to the public so that people can put in their views and concerns with respect to the projects.
All recommendations made by them were asked to be submitted in writing to the empowered committee. Advocate Sunil Yadav, on behalf of ESG, asked for a stay order on the road-widening project but the empowered committee observed that it was not possible. “Work on all fronts will continue,’’ Suresh said.


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