Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In Metro’s defence

In Metro’s defence

Fencing work in progress at Lalbagh.
First Published : 22 Apr 2009 07:48:04 AM IST
Last Updated : 22 Apr 2009 08:42:26 AM IST

BANGALORE: Putting a halt to the ongoing discussions and confusion over the issue of treefelling in Lalbagh and RV Road for metro rail construction, the implementing agency of the Namma Metro project, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), has clarified the issue.

At a press conference here on Tuesday, Manging Director of BMRCL, N Sivasailam, said: “The Government Order No 287/TUEV 2006 (part) Bangalore dated February 25, 2009 has ceded 1135.18 sqmt for Namma Metro project. There are 19 trees in this area, out of which 18 are Eucalyptus trees which do not require any permission to be felled as they do not fall under the purview of the Tree Act. Nonetheless, the GO permitting the BMRCL to acquire this small portion of Lalbagh also allows felling of the 19 trees in that area.

However, BMRCL would try its best to save a few of these trees and would cut a tree only when the design and construction leave no option.” The 1135.18 sq mt area in Lalbagh would be used to install emergency staircases and escalators for boarding and landing of passengers. The emergency staircases have been designed to evacuate passengers three times the station loading in 5.5 minutes, conforming to the National Fire Protection association (NFPA) standards, BMRCL officials informed.

On RV Road The BMRCL has identified 323 trees in the land allocated for construction of four stations in Reach IV of the project (from KR Market to RV Road Terminal). However, Sivasailam assured that the actual number of trees felled would not exceed 210. In addition to these, 203 are expected to be pruned in this Reach.

Protest A group of citizens has been protesting for a week against the metro work in Lalbagh area since BMRCL started to demolish the original compound wall of Lalbagh, after acquiring the land on receiving a green signal from the Department of Horticulture.

The protestors also organised a padayatra from the Southend Circle to Lalbagh West Gate on Tuesday, which saw a participation of around 200 people. The BMRCL is to construct a new compound wall to secure Lalbagh and work has been allocated to the agency.

Not commercial The portion of Lalbagh acquired for Namma Metro would be used only to provide entry and exit facilities to the commuters. No commercial activities or parking facilities would be allowed in the area, BMRCL clarified.

Work to go on Construction of Lalbagh station is expected to start in 10 to 15 days’ time, after constructing the compound wall. The contract has been awarded to L&T. On whether work was stopped at Lalbagh as promised by the Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge Bangalore City, R Ashok, the BMRCL officials said: “BMRCL has been following all the directions from the government.’’ Change in alignment? Any change in alignment or shift in station location is up to the government to decide and BMRCL, is bound to follow the government orders and is not competent to take any decisions on these issues, said Sivasailam. The state and the union governments are aware of the developments and protests but we have not received any communication from them as the Election Code of Conduct is in place,’’ he added.

Tree-felling BMRCL identifies trees to be cut or pruned depending on the design. This involves a spot inspection by the chief engineer of the project. Then, the BMRCL seeks permission from the officer concerned in the BBMP. Only on approval from its tree officer, the BBMP fells or prunes a tree. BMRCL has been following this procedure and has the required permission in writing from the BBMP to fell all the trees that have been felled so far, said Sivasailam.

BMRCL is planting 15,000 trees to replace 1,500 trees that the agency is planning to cut for Metro.

Why the controversy? ● Public discussion. BMRCL made four presentations made in Jayanagar area to the public ● Discussion in the Legislature ● Aprroval from the state and the union governments ● Alignment was approved in 2005.

Work started in 2007.

● Alignment in public domain.

● Over 800 trees identified to be felled in the other three reaches.

Going underground no solution METRO RAIL NETWORK going underground between KR Road and RV Road would not solve the tree-felling problem in the area. An underground station would need the same entry and exit facilities as at the planned overground station at Lalbagh and would require the same station area. Moreover, additional area would be required to provide ventilation and air-conditioning units and a 60 mt wide corridor would have to be earmarkd all along the underground alignment. This might end up in felling more trees.


Post a Comment

<< Home