Monday, April 27, 2009

Greens for change of alignment

Greens for change of alignment
The message was loud and clear: Shelve plan to acquire Lalbagh, change alignment of Namma Metro.

With no response from the State government over the R V Road alignment and construction activity of Lalbagh station progressing, ‘Hasiru Usiru’ organised its fifth public protest in ten days here on Sunday.

Nearly 250 people including residents of Jayanagar and Basavanagudi took out a ‘padayatra’ from Lalbagh West Gate to Lakshman Rao boulevard. They held placards, and shouted now familiar, but increasingly determined slogans like "Ulisi, Ulisi, Lalbagh Ulisi", "Ulisi, Ulisi, Nanda Road Ulisi", "Metro, Underground", and "Beku Beku, Nyaya Beku.

The protesters included MLA from Mahalakshmi Layout, L Narendra Babu and Professor Rajeev Gowda from the IIM (B). Prof Gowda expressed his sadness that it has come to a point that the City is being asked to sacrifice Lalbagh and Nanda Theatre Road for the Metro.

The NGO in its next step is planning to organise a public meet over the issue and would also submit a memorandum to Governor Rameshwar Thakur seeking his intervention into the ordinance issued by the State government that ceded Horticulture Department land for BMRCL. “We will request him not to renew the ordinance that will expire in a few weeks,” said Leo Saldanha of Hasiru Usiru.

If BMRCL were indeed sensitive to people’s concerns, the least they could have done is to comprehensively and strictly follow the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, that requires public consultation by a statutory process, the NGO added. “Not once have the Metro authorities complied with such statutory public consultation, but have claimed that presentations were held for residents’ associations in clubs”

On the felling of Eucalyptus trees, he said a tree inside Lalbagh is not the same as one on a street and BMRCL must understand that the world famous garden has the sanctity of a national park.

Online petition launched

The NGO has also launched an online petition ‘Save Lalbagh: Explore Alternatives for Metro’ to be submitted to Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.

Vinay Srinivasa, a volunteer of Hasiru Usiru said, a large number of people in Bangalore have come out in protest against the construction of an elevated track for the Metro through Lalbagh and Lakshman Rao parks. In view of this we demand that the State government suspend all work on the southern reach of the Metro till it has duly consulted the public. “We have also issued legal notices to the BMRCL for violation of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act,” he said.


The NGO demands that the State government must immediately instruct Namma Metro authorities to stop work on the southern reach; the Government must allow the ordinance issued to acquire Lalbagh to lapse on 22 May, 2009.


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