Status quo on parking lot inside Lalbagh

Horticulture Minister S A Ravindranath said on Thursday that the construction of the parking lot inside Lalbagh would not resume till a three-member expert panel gives its opinion on the matter.

Addressing reporters, the minister said status quo would be maintained till then. The panel will comprise an environmentalist, a botanist, and an archaeologist or a geologist.
He said though there was a need for a parking lot inside the botanical garden, because of the large crowd it attracts every day, opposition from the green brigade had forced the department to stall the project.

M K Shankarlinge Gowda, principal secretary, Horticulture department said that heritage spots like the Tipu Palace near Vani Vilas Hospital and Lalbagh were plagued by many undesirable structures around.

He said it was important to protect and conserve such sites by disallowing construction activities around them, indicating that the project might not be furthered. Sources in the department also said that the project might be spiked. They, however, maintained that ultimately it was the committee’s decision whether or not to continue with the project.

Relief to farmers

Ravindranath said the State had incurred heavy horticulture crop losses and that the Centre had released Rs 38 crore as relief for the year 2011-12. Farmers will be given a compensation of Rs 2,000 per hectare. Losses for 2012-13 were still being assessed, he said, adding that farmers growing fruits (grapes and pomegranates), vegetables (tomatoes, onion, garlic, chillies) had suffered heavy losses.

The minister also said that the department was making efforts to streamline the functioning of Hopcoms. He said that Hopcoms would be directed to purchase all produce directly from the farmers.

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