Now, Hebbal lake to have Bhuvaneshwari statue

Now, Hebbal lake to have Bhuvaneshwari statue

The statue, a brainchild of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, was initially proposed to be erected on the monolith in Lalbagh Botanical Gardens. Public outcry against the proposal had the government spiking the location, putting the project in the cold storage for some time.

Recently, the government chose the Hebbal lake to erect the 30-foot bronze statue, to be mounted on a pedestal on 1.5 acres of land facing the Hebbal flyover.

As per the government order issued recently, two committees, one headed by Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and another by Chief Secretary S V Ranganath, have been constituted to oversee the execution of the project.

Senior IAS officer and principal secretary to the Home department, S M Jaamdar - who has executed similar projects, including the ones at Kudalasangama in Bagalkot, Almatti Gardens, Gulbarga’s Kaginele, the birthplace of saint-poet Kanakadasa, and Bidar’s Basavakalyana - has been appointed the convenor of both the panels.

Jaamdar said as the lake was in a strategic location, it would be an ideal place for the statue. “It is a major lake and installing the statue will also help development of the lake. It will be developed as a major tourist destination,” he added.

He said his team was concentrating on getting clearance from the High Court where two writ petitions (filed in 1995 and 2008) pertaining to privatisation of lakes have been stayed. The government is also expected to get the nod from the Lake Development Authority (LDA).

The 2008 petition pertains to the lake being leased out to East India Hotels belonging to the Oberoi Group for a period of 15 years for an annual amount of Rs 72.1 lakh at an annual escalation of 1.5 per cent of the amount, by LDA. The company had proposed a floating restaurant at the lake.

This public-private partnership project was strongly criticised by Greens, with the Environment Support Group (ESG) moving the court against the privatisation of the lake. The next hearing of the case is on September 19.

“Our first priority is to cross the legal hurdles. We also want to hold consultations with experts, especially environmentalists,” he said, adding his team was also readying the concept and design for the project. The preliminary design suggests that two hanging bridges will be built as access points for the statue.

ESG coordinator Leo F Saldanha, who said the government was again committing a “blunder”, felt the project would be “illegal”. “We will fight this project tooth and nail,” he added.

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