Despite protests and angst, the BMRCL continues to be unwilling to consult with the public on finalising the routes for the Namma Metro Phase-II.
The High Court gave a ruling on November 16, 2011, asking all public utilities to consult the public on any change of land use, and follow the requirements of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act. The ruling was on writ petition number 13241/09 filed by Environment Support Group and others.
Activists insist that as per this ruling, Namma Metro needs to consult before any changes in its routes.
Leo Saldana, one of the petitioners, said, “The High Court had ruled that officials will be held directly responsible if they do not comply with the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act. They are supposed to advertise plans and schemes, conduct public hearings under the KTCPA, reveal all plans of Phase-II, receive objections, fix alignments, hold another public hearing and then proceed with soil testing, etc. Instead, they have fixed the alignment, conducted soil testing and the KIADB has already begun acquiring land,” he said.
BMRCL managing director, N Sivasailam, when questioned, asked for a copy of the judgment and said he would respond only after he had a chance to look at it in detail. The BMRCL was also a respondent in the petition.
Activists are especially unhappy with the recent “unilateral” decision by BMRCL to change the alignment of the Metro station from inside Jayadeva hospital to outside it.
“The BMRCL held the high-powered committee meeting with the director of the hospital, following which the decision to shift the alignment was made,” said K Ramesh, coordinator of the Jayadeva Interchange Metro Victims’ Forum, “But we have not been consulted at all.”
Residents suggest that the BMRCL either go underground or build along the median so that minimum property destruction takes place. “BMRCL is taking unilateral decisions. All we are asking is explore other options. Why are they not looking at an underground station? Why destroy properties built with our life savings?” asked Ramesh.
Following the Jayadeva station shift, 98 properties will be acquired (approximately 1,65,000 sqft of land costing about `1,000 crore). This will affect about 3,000 employees working in these buildings. Besides, 54 senior citizens will lose their dwellings.