Siddhaiah proposes what his officers want to dispose of

Siddhaiah proposes what his officers want to dispose of

Sankey Road battle

Siddaiah’s remarks came while participating in a discussion in the BBMP Council when Jayamahal corporator M K Gunashekar raised the issue of  public protest against Sankey Road widening.

Siddaiah said he stood by his word that felling trees was a “crime” and felt that the stretch from Cauvery Junction to Bhashyam Circle should not be widened since the road was sufficiently wide.

The residents of Malleswaram, who wisely decided not to rely on the good graces of the Palike commissioner, stopped the before it could begin. The premature death of the auction process clearly signified the intention of the residents who intend to fight tooth and nail against the road widening project. For now, the BBMP has postponed the auction to July 1, 2011.

“There are so many alternatives to managing the traffic, apart from road widening. Why is the BBMP not willing to consider any alternative apart from cutting trees? We all know this solution has not worked in other places,” Dr Meenakshi Bharath of Malleswaram Swabhimana Initiative pointed out.

Kathyayini Chamaraj of NGO Civic lashed out, saying: “They never bothered to have a public consultation. They never sent a notice. They just took a decision and decided to go ahead, without any consultation even though an appeal is pending with the Tree Authority. How is this process democratic?” she asked.

At 11 am on Wednesday, when the BBMP tried to begin the auction process in front of a fig tree situated opposite the Ayyappa temple, the residents group tried to convince the Tree Officer Venkateshappa, that an appeal filed by Hasiru Usiru against the tree cutting was pending before Tree Authority and they could not go ahead with the auction.

Interestingly, BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah chose to extricate himself out of the situation saying that he was in a meeting when the protesters called him during the auction.

Finally, the BBMP started the auction calling for a bid of Rs 3 lakh for all the 19 trees, but the bidders chose not to participate. Once the auction was closed, the Tree Officer disclosed his intention to start the  second round of auction. This was also halted successfully and the protesters convinced the bidders to take back their DDs submitted for the auction.

Bidders like Gulshar Kamal supported the fight of the protesters saying it was for a good cause and they would not participate. Finally, the protesters stayed till evening at the site to make sure that BBMP did not attempt again to conduct an auction.

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