Friday, November 13, 2009

Metro route eats up more trees

Metro route eats up more trees

Anil Kumar Sastry
Realignment costs 110 trees around Cubbon Park instead of original 70

GARDEN CITY?: The new alignment will also create yet another entry point in Cubbon Park, imperilling its future. —
BANGALORE: In a classic case of the cure being worse than the illness, the changed alignment of the Namma Metro’s East-West corridor, that was to have protected Cubbon Park’s greenery, will actually result in the felling of 110 trees in and around this prized lung space.

As per the detailed project report (DPR) prepared by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (DMRCL) in 2003, the Vidhana Soudha underground station would have been located near Multistorey Buildings. The underground alignment would have taken a right turn before Gopala Gowda Circle, moved under the length of Cubbon Park, and surfaced near the Jawahar Bal Bhavan. The Cricket Stadium elevated station would have come after the Mahatma Gandhi Park.

Initial refusal
A high-power committee of the State Government had refused to clear the alignment on this particular stretch because 70 trees would have been felled in Cubbon Park. Thus in September 2005, the committee headed by then Chief Secretary B.K. Das decided to change the alignment, said a senior official who was privy to the meeting.

However, today Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL), which is implementing Namma Metro, proposes to fell over 110 trees in the park and its surroundings. Over 90 trees are to be axed to lay alternative roads on either side of the Ambedkar Veedhi, and 22 in Cubbon Park for an alternative road to facilitate construction of the Vidhana Soudha and Minsk Square underground stations.

“If 110 trees are to be felled for the alternative road, the original alignment itself could have been followed as it did not affect traffic,” the official said. DMRCL had reportedly given two alternatives for the ramp to surface on ground — between M.G. Road and Brigade Road and between M.G. Road and Residency Road — if the Bal Bhavan option was not acceptable to the Government.

Purpose defeated
“The changing of alignment, aimed at protecting Cubbon Park in its entirety, will not serve any purpose if 22 trees inside it are to be felled for the alternative road,” Mr. Das told The Hindu.

“The decision was taken to save Cubbon Park from being touched in any manner. It was not envisaged at that time that alternative roads will be built right inside it,” he said.

“Once you touch Cubbon Park, restoring it to its original glory is impossible and it will give way to further destruction of the park which is under threat. The alternative road will allow yet another (entry point for vehicles). Cubbon Park will perish once it is touched,” he added.

‘Shift station’
Mr. Das said the proposed Minsk Square underground station should be shifted if an alternative road is coming inside Cubbon Park.

“While deciding the change of alignment, we had zeroed in on a piece of private property in front of the Central Telegraph Office. Even now it is not late; BMRCL should acquire it and build the underground station there. BMRCL should not be wary of escalation of cost by Rs. 30 crore to Rs. 40 crore (for acquisition) to save Cubbon Park,” Mr. Das said.

If acquiring this private property is not possible, the station should be pushed further under Cubbon Road to save Cubbon Park at any cost, he added.

BMRCL Managing Director N. Sivasailam is yet to respond to an email seeking his comments.


At Friday, November 13, 2009 at 6:04:00 PM GMT+5:30, Blogger Manish said...

Looks like the office where you work is just next to your residence. Probably this is the reason you don't know what all problems we face going to office daily.

Listen, Bangalore needs metro. For every tree cut down, we need to put one more. Just crying like a baby and ranting against the Metro is doing more harm than good.

Grow up Kid!


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