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Following the Environment Impact Assessment Authority permitting the construction of the elevated corridor project, the citizen organisations of Bengaluru have filed a case in the State High Court against the alleged “illegal environmental clearance” of the project.
The ambitious 95-km Bengaluru elevated corridor project of Karnataka Government aims at minimising the traffic problem in the city. The project has been under controversy after several citizen activists and residents opposed the Rs 28,000 crore project.
The anticipated damages because of the project include 1131 properties, 56.89 hectares of land as per the environmental impact assessment report by Karnataka Road Development Corporation Ltd. (KRDCL).
The project aims at creating a central loop of elevated roads around the heart of the city, which will spread three sets of long roads, one from north-south, and two from east-west. The corridor will be constructed in a way that it will allow stop-free travelling with minimum traffic. Each elevated corridor is expected to have four or six lanes.
Citizens in large numbers have been against the project primarily due to two reasons: environmental repercussions and the amount of money involved.
A mega protest was carried out by more than 10,000 residents and activist groups in the city in March.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Tara Krishnaswamy, a social activist fighting for the cause, said: “Thousands of people staged a protest demanding ‘Tender Raddu Maadi’ (Cancel the tender) as the project is a violation of several laws and is not approved by the Metropolitan Planning Committee. The detailed feasibility reports for such a large scale project was never released for public consultation and feedback.”
After the massive protest in March by thousands of people, Chief Minister Kumaraswamy tweeted that he wanted to meet all the citizens who were not in favour of the project. He assured all the citizens that the project will not proceed without an open, wide-ranging public consultation.
Since then, the Chief Minister has not reached out to the citizens or addressed their concerns.
“About 500 volunteer hours were spent in order to carry out a social impact assessment, for such a huge project, covering the densely populated areas in the city. Shopkeepers, residents, retail owners, vendors were spoken to and were asked about the possible damage that will be caused to them or their livelihood because of the elevated corridor. After the interaction, it was understood that many people were unaware of the possible consequences of the project,” Tara added on efforts being carried out to know the impact of the project.
The elevated corridor will be constructed after slashing as many as 3716 trees which is dangerous for a city which is facing a massive reduction in the green cover. One of the ways to compensate for the loss of green space includes the creation of vertical gardens.
As per the reports, Vertical gardens will not just spread greenery along the corridor, but will also absorb air pollution thus bringing down the impact of hazardous gases.
The report marks “sensitive wooded stretches” in the premises of the city which will be affected. Nearly 900 trees will either be cut or trimmed in these areas.
To make up for the damage caused, the report states that trees cut will be replaced with at least 10 trees per tree cut. The report also mentions about transplanting or reviving around 600 trees.
The expected damage is not just limited to the green cover, but also water bodies.
The impact of the project identifies 12 lakes, in areas where the corridor will be very close to the water bodies. According to the report, the construction process shall not be done during the monsoon season.
“As we took to the High Court, a stay was put till July 7 on the project. As per the stay, the KRDCL should not have begun any work. Despite the orders, the KRDCL went about issuing public statements and also called for a tender for the project’s first phase,” Tara added.
The citizens and various groups of people are hopeful of some positive news on 7 July from the Karnataka High Court. The citizens of Karnataka are doing every bit to save the green cover and the rejuvenation of lakes and trees.
The Logical Indian community stands in support of the sustained efforts and constant pleas in the significant matters that concern the city and its people.
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