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Residents rage at tree-killer BDA

Bangalore, May 27 2012, DHNS: 0:56 IST

Authority is building underpass to help mall builder, say Koramangala protesters

In its hurry to implement the signal-free project in the City, the BDA felled 32 trees in Koramangala on Saturday. The BDA is planning an underpass at the St John’s Hospital junction as part of the project.

The move is in direct contravention of the conditional permission to fell trees issued by BBMP. The permission had been given after BDA gave an undertaking that BDA would consult the Palike before awarding the contract to fell the trees and deciding on the disposal of the chopped trees.

The BDA kept the Palike in the dark about its intentions, besides antagonising the residents of Koramangala and allegedly violating a High Court order. However, an oral communication by the Palike forest department, has stopped the felling of more trees till further orders.

“We have spoken to the BDA authorities to stop the felling of trees. We will verify the permission which was issued long back and take a call,” said Krishnappa, BBMP Conservator of Forests.

Meanwhile, over 500 residents including the staff of St John’s Hospital, St Francis Seva Sadan and residents of Kudremukh Colony staged a protest against the BDA on Sunday, for felling the trees by violating the HC order.

The petitioners are seriously considering filing a contempt plea against BDA in the HC, as they feel that the trees were deliberately axed to weaken the case before the hearing.

It is claimed that Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, during the foundation stone laying ceremony, had promised to hold a meeting with the residents before commencing the project. However, residents claim that the meeting never took place. A committee appointed by Gowda is yet to submit a report on the project.

The protesters said that the BDA has proposed a signal free corridor, with four underpasses at Koramangala-check-post, St John’s Hospital junction, Krupanidhi College junction and Jakkasandra junction, to help a builder who has proposed to construct a mall close to the Agara Lake. According to one of the protestors, BDA has falsely claimed in court that it had complied with the conditions to get the stay vacated.

“BDA said it has issued all work orders pertaining to underpass construction, but it is not true. BDA has not issued any work order related to shifting of utilities,” the protestor said. It may be recalled that BDA had issued land acquisition orders to the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, contradicting its own submission to the HC that no land acquisition was required for the underpass work.

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