Protest at All Saints church

People staging a protest marking 67 days against BMRCL set to cut trees on the All Saints Church campus in Bengaluru. (DH Photo)

Protests against the BMRCL’s move to axe several old trees on the premises of the 150-year-old All Saints Church has continued, with many expressing concern for the safety of the heritage building.

Some members of the church and general public gathered near Vellara junction on Sunday for the “67th silent protest” on the church premises. They alleged that the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) was showing high-handedness in implementing the project, which might destroy the mini forest they call the ‘Sacred Grove’. They added that the project will also bring down the school for children with special needs.

The civic works on Namma Metro’s Vellara Junction-Pottery Town (5.63 km) underground stretch is expected to begin soon. But, according to the citizens, the BMRCL has switched the station site.

“As per the DPR (detailed project report), the track and station box were planned under Hosur Road. The BMRCL has violated it,” said Ronald Fernandez, a member of the church.

Protesters claimed that the metro authorities have demanded an additional acre of church land for temporary use, despite taking one acre from the church authority permanently a year ago. They said the BMRCL would cut open the church premises to build a three-tier station with shopping stalls.

Protesters are also afraid that the church may suffer damage if the metro authorities begin digging the 20-metre trench and allow one-tonne capacity cranes to work on the campus.

“The BMRCL will leave behind a land with only three feet deep soil of no use. No rainwater can percolate, resulting in flooding of the church premises,” Fernandez added.

Protesters are urging the metro authorities to move the station by 75 metres to the army land close to the church, which the defence authorities are ready to part with. They are also requesting the BMRCL to reduce the station’s length from 234 metres to 192 metres, since the footfall is expected to be only 4,000, according to the DPR.

They are planning to meet officials of the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board on Tuesday to register their objections and suggest alternatives.

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