Legal hurdles stall Metro expansion to Kadugodi forests

Legal hurdles stall Metro expansion to Kadugodi forests


It seems that the Namma Metro will take its time to extend its services into Kadugodi forest area as it confronts legal hurdles despite clearance by the Forest Department.  

While a team of forest officials confabulated on Thursday with their counterparts from Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) to discuss the metro line through Kadugodi and UM Kaval forest areas, another was attending the hearing on litigation over the 711 acre wooded area at Kadugodi.

“We have given in principle approval to BMRCL to hand over 18.11 ha in Kadugodi reserve forest. The area of land sought has increased from 17 ha,” said a forest official.  

“But the project will take time since the whole of the Kadugodi forest area is under litigation. The list of cases includes the ongoing construction of police quarters.

“According to the environment act, we need approval from the (union) ministry of environment and forest to denotify the land. But a case pertaining to this clause is also pending at the Supreme Court. No legal conclusion can be drawn without clarity,” the official added.

Negotiations over UM Kaval land parcel were at a nascent stage in the meeting. The forest official said: “BMRCL assured that it would hand over 26.5 acres near Dandeli Tiger Reserve and 62 acres near Bhadra Tiger Reserve for both the projects, but nothing has come to us.”

Forest officials also told the BMRCL team that the land the rail company is prepared to trade in exchange for forest land is not equal in terms of financial value.

“The Kadugodi land is valued around Rs 22-25 crore per acre. In exchange, they’re giving us land in Dandeli valued at Rs 4 lakh per acre. The water locked land parcel in Bhadra costs Rs 15-20 lakh per acre,” forest officials said.

“The Forest Conservation Act 1098 rule says the first preference compensatory land should be equal in value. Since the BMRCL is seeking our help in identifying land parcels, we can re-survey and find land around Kadugodi and UM Kaval forest area,” they added. BMRCL officials at the meeting said the matter was still under discussion.

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