After strong protests against the controversial elevated corridor in Bengaluru, the Karnataka High Court has halted further developments over the project initiated by the HD Kumaraswamy-led government. The project has faced strong opposition and online petitions signed by more than 1 lakh people.
A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Narayana Swamy and Justice Dinesh Kumar has asked the government not to proceed further in the matter until a case on the functioning of the Bangalore Metropolitan Committee is disposed of. The next date of hearing has been fixed on March 19, reported The News Minute.
The strong opposal came after the residents came to know that more than 120 trees in Cubbon Park area will have to be chopped down to complete the project. More than 3,700 trees will have to be cut down or relocated for the process of building the entire stretch of the elevated corridor mostly from Cubbon Park, Jayamahal Palace road, Coles Park and areas surrounding IISc campus that have numerous untouched trees in the concrete jungle city.
The Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) had hastily sent out tender invitations for the 102-km long elevated corridor project to connect the city's network of roads and to end the traffic congestion. But with the initiation of the corridor, Bengaluru's already diminishing green belt would further go down by a huge number. KRDCL had floated the first phase of tender without public consultation.
Trees to be axed
- Jayamahal Palace Road: 356
- From IISc campus to Mehkri Circle: 195
- From IISc campus to Yeshwanthpur Circle: 32
- Raja Ram Mohan Roy Road: 108
- Queen's Road, Kasturba Road: 120
- Promenade Road near Coles Park: 47
According to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) survey, not just trees, the project will have an impact on the city's already polluted water bodies. The proposed alignment is also in violation with the National Green Tribunal ruling on buffer zone of lakes on 10 counts.
Ulsoor, Varthur, Hebbal and Agara lakes are the major water bodies that will get affected due to the construction of the road network as the debris will fall into the water sources and affect marine life and ecology.
Some groups have claimed that the elevated corridor will reduce the choking traffic and pollution. As more pollution is emitted by vehicles in a traffic jam, the new road network can be a solution. While several environmental concerns have been raised by the people, some organisations have supported the project. A certain section of people from the Residents Welfare Association (RWA) from Cox Town, Koramangala, Sarjapur, Whitefield, Bellandur and other areas have pledged their support towards the project following the expansion of the roads.
However, the residents and many civic organisations led by Citizens of Bengaluru (CfB) have organised a rally against the elevated corridor on Saturday, as a take on the government.
Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike, Environment Support Group and Citizen Action Forum are some of the prominent groups participating in the rally, reported The Hindu.