Potential victims pour their hearts out

Metro realignment: Two alternatives proposed but unlikely to be accepted

Potential victims pour their hearts out

Residents who are set to lose their homes following the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) decision to realign Namma Metro’s proposed intersection near Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiological Sciences and Research (SJICSR) on Bannerghatta Road have proposed two alternatives which are, however, unlikely to be accepted.

The potential victims came together at a press conference on Thursday and poured their hearts out. K Ramesh, Coordinator, Jayadeva Interchange Metro Victims’ Forum, suggested two possible ways of constructing Metro lines without disturbing either the iconic hospital or the surrounding neighbourhoods.

First, the Metro lines and stations can be constructed in the middle of the road. “This way, it will disturb none. It’s economical too,” Ramesh said. Second, Metro could go underground.

Both the suggestions, however, had been submitted before by other victims who lost their properties. While the BMRCL shot down the second option, the first alternative is unlikely to be accepted as it envisages the Metro station above the flyover.

The realignment will see 98 private properties, including Raja Galaxy, Infosys, Gopalan  Innovation Mall, Bescom, Vasavi Residency, Himagiri Residency, Casa Ansal Apartments, Valtech, etc, partially or fully demolished.

The decision to realign was taken by a high-power committee, consisting of representatives of the Central and State governments, on April 7, 2013, in order to save a portion of SJICSR from demolition. The affected residents, however, have alleged foul play, saying the hospital will lose only a parking lot and a makeshift eatery.

Residents have now pinned their hopes on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. “We have made representations to him and hope he takes our grievances into account,” Ramesh said, adding that waging the legal battle was also an option.

Among the potential victims is M V Srikantha (70), a resident of Vysya Bank Colony. “I was simply shocked to learn about the realignment. If implemented, it will drive me out of my home of 25 years. Where should I go at this age?” he asked. Srinivas, a resident of Casa Ansal Apartments, accused the BMRCL of being “dictated” by the SJICSR.

“Nobody informed us about the realignment. We learnt about it through the media,” he fumed. Residents also alleged that they neither received any notice about the possible demolition of their properties nor was there any mention of the monetary compensation.

Vysya Bank Colony, which houses mainly retired citizens, will lose a large chunk of its geography. Jayagopal, one of the residents, said: “There are about 34 families in our society. We have houses as well as commercial spaces. The demolition will not only render us homeless but also deprive us of livelihood. We have already lost a major chunk of our properties when the ring road was being constructed,” he said.

The possible evictees also fear they would be provided with a compensation far lesser than the current market rate. “We might be offered just 30 per cent more than what we bought our properties for. It’s peanuts compared with the market rate,” Gopalan, another resident, said. “The government will have to shell out at least Rs 2,000 crore if it pays at the market rate.”

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