Development to eat up Sankey Road greenery

COST OF DEVELOPMENT: A view of Sankey Road lined with trees. DH Photo

Secure a picture of the green canopy with a pristine lake at Sankey Road, as it will soon be history in a week's time.

The BBMP is hell bent on widening the road from Cauvery Theatre to Malleswaram 18th Cross and has issued a work order. In a week's time, the serenity of the area, marked with chirping of birds, will be replaced by the noise and dust generated by bulldozers.

What the Palike officials and elected representatives have been denying for the last two years will be a reality soon. The urgency to start work stems from the fact that the milch cow, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) of the Centre, is set to end by March 2012.

Besides tens of trees lined up on both sides of Sankey Road, 54-year-old Stella Maris School, a few houses, a temple and a few community buildings will bear the brunt of road widening. The school authorities were earlier told that only a 4.4-metre wide area of their school would go. But now, they have to part with a good portion of the school building too. Worried with the Palike's plans, an ex-student of the school called Deccan Herald and sought media's interference to protect her alma-mater.

Loss of school land

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the school authorities said that during summer vacation, some private agencies came inside the school premises and measured the land to be acquired for road widening. The new marking suggests that 'the school will lose much more than the 4.4-metre wide land'.

"As per the new marking, we will lose a portion of the school building too. When we contacted the engineer-in-chief and other Palike officials, they assured us that they will see to it that our school does not lose so much land," said one of the nuns of the school.

Palike officials are still sure that they will save as much area as they can. The Palike's earlier plan was to widen the Sankey Road (from Circle Maramma Temple upto Cauvery Theatre) by 32 metres. Now they are planning to widen the road by only 26.5 metres.

"The new plan will help us cut costs. It will also save many buildings and greenery," said a Palike engineer, who is executing the plan.

The area chosen for road widening is high on property value. A rough estimate suggests that the rate is somewhere between Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 per square foot. The Palike has nothing to offer to the property losers, but the carrot of Transferable Developmental Rights (TDR), which property losers have not agreed to.

Residents of Sankey Road and Malleswaram are now gearing up to launch a protest against the road-widening plan. Dr Meenakshi Bharat, a resident, said she would not let the greenery of Sankey Road become a thing of the past.

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