Saturday, April 25, 2009

Greens slam metro allegations

Greens slam metro allegations

They refuted the claims that have woken up at the last hour

Environmentalists say that they have been fighting for four years against the felling of trees

Vaishalli Chandra. Bangalore

In the last few days, accusations have been hurled against individuals and green activists who have been protesting against felling of trees, especially in Lalbagh for the metro rail construction. They have been blamed for waking up at the 11th hour and making a hue and cry over something that was decided since long.
However Leo F Saldanha, coordinator, Environment Support Group rubbished the claims when he met the journalists on Friday. "We have been protesting since the last four years. It hasn't been a last minute thing," he retorted. He questioned the authorities' lack of transparency, saying, "Why didn't they call for public forums through advertisement back then?"
Leo once again went on to emphasise on the need to construct 'underground' metro rails. He felt that one of the reasons why concerned citizens want the metro to go underground is that there will be minimum disturbance and even the noise pollution levels will remain relatively low. Rubbishing statements made by BMRCL MD Sivaselam that underground metro will require more land, Leo said, "Does he even know how the metro system works? I would rather have him resign."
He added, "BMRCL has zero parking plan" and seemed confident that in two years "they will come asking for more space in Lalbagh."
While Dr Ramachandran, chairman, BMRCL and secretary, Union Ministry of Urban development has gone on record saying that the a zig-zag alignment will not be feasible for metro, Leo pointed out, the Southern reach has "four 90 degree turn within four kilometres." These will not only slow down the system but also increase wear and tear. This will increase the cost that will drain the revenue in the long run. He wondered why Dr Ramachandran had not applied the same logic at the South reach.
Upset at the government's apathetic treatment, he said, "Our CM wants to leave behind a legacy of destruction."
While happy that candidates came forward to support the movement he said, "We will hold all of them accountable for this," and even recalled how T Ashok, minister in-charge of the city, at the cusp of elections, said that the alignment can be re-considered. Angry that the IT gurus — Nandan Nilkekani, Narayan Murthy, Mohan Das Pai and Azim Premji — had kept away from the issue he questioned, "Why are they silent on this?"
The NGO Hasiru Usiru, that has also been actively involved in Lalbagh's cause called citizens to participate in the demonstration on April 26 at 10.30 am. Dharma, a resident from the area called for all women to participate in the protest, "We want to gift our children and grandchildren a Bangalore rich in culture and heritage. This march is to protect places like Lalbagh."


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