Protest, counter protest over green reality of a realty project

Protest, counter protest over green reality of a realty project

Members of residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) of Koramangala, HSR Layout and Bellandur, along with some NGOs, on Sunday staged a protest near Agara Lake, Sarjapur against the two major real estate projects coming up near the lake.

A counter protest was held by Vidyarthi Jagruthi Samithi, which accused the NGOs of not doing anything for the development of areas around Bellandur and misleading the media and people about the projects. Mantri Techzone Private Limited and CoreMind Software and Services Limited have a project each there.

Around 800 people took part in the protest by the RWAs, who demanded that the project land be returned to the farmers and that Mantri Developers be given an alternative land.

‘Not against developer’
“We have nothing against the developer. We just do not want the ecology to be harmed,” said one of the protesters from Koramangala.

Protesters contended that the projects are coming up on the catchment/wetland of Bellandur lake, the largest in the City. They expressed fear that the projects would lead to water crisis and groundwater depletion.

“The water requirements for the projects exceed that supplied by BWSSB in Koramangala, HSR Layout and Bellandur,” said one of the protesters.

The residents said that various studies had recommended that the projects be cancelled and urged the government agencies to contest the legal cases vigorously and fight for environmental protection, instead of supporting the building lobby. They urged the Ministry of Ecology Forests and Environment and State government to cancel clearances given to the builders.

Members of the Vidyarthi Jagruthi Samithi opposed the stand of the residents’ associations and questioned whether they were even aware of the meaning of the terms wetland and catchment areas. They said that these NGOs had a nexus with a few political parties and were playing spoilsport in the development of Agara and Bellandur areas. They sought to know who were funding the protests.

“The projects will actually generate employment for those living in the vicinity. This will, in turn, reduce commuting time, thereby reducing pollution,” Samithi president Anil S said.

Mantri reacts
Mantri Developers Private Limited said in a statement: “All our projects have commenced upon receipt of required clearances from authorities, including the MoEF.

This holds true even for our Agara venture. We have documented proof to validate the same in a court of law. For our project at Agara, we are aiming for Platinum Rating as per standards laid down by Indian Green Building Council. We have achieved significant reduction in carbon, energy and water footprints through recycling of water from sewage treatment plants, efficient designs to reduce steel and concrete use and conversion of waste collected from our establishments into manure. We welcome all interested parties, NGOs and individuals dedicated to the development of Agara lake to join our efforts in preserving the lake and we are ready to bear the development cost.”

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