School construction, a lesson in violation

Residents move HC against National Education Trust

Eleven residents including cricketer Roger Binny, two retired IPS officers and a retired IAS officer have filed a writ petition in the Karnataka High Court challenging the construction of a nursery school by the Trust (which runs the National Public School), on 13th main of HAL 2nd stage.

The petitioners have contended that the construction of the school with four floors have flouted several zoning norms and the running of the school would cause hardship to the residents, as there is already a 2,000-students strong school right opposite to the nursery being constructed.

One of the petitioners, SNS Murthy, said the new building would have an intake of 800 students. “They took two large residential sites, amalgamated them and got approval from the Bangalore Development Authority and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike for construction of the school,” he said.

Murthy also pointed out that zoning laws clearly state that a property should reserve a road width of 60 feet. But the present construction of the school has only left a width of 40 ft for the road. Also, the school should be treated as a special building, as it catered to young children, he said. But the present construction did not meet the fire safety regulations needed for such a building, he added.

The petitioners stated the sanctioned plan, as per the endorsement, said the basement and ground floors had to be reserved only for car parking and toilets for visitors, servants, drivers and security personnel. However, the present structure had no basement. “On the face of it, the floor plan indicates four classrooms in the ground floor, which is a gross violation,” Murthy said.

The petition also refers to another building by the same Trust on 12-A main road, which is also the subject of writ petition because of the alleged violations of building byelaws. BBMP later ordered the Trust to vacate the site because of gross violations and presently the property has been locked and is not in use.

Concerns also abound the petitioners over the pressure the new building would put on the existing infrastructure like road, water, electricity and sewerage and the exponential increase in noise and air pollution.

The petitioners also lay the blame squarely on BBMP and BDA for sanctioning the plan by paying lip service to zoning regulations and the lack of transparency displayed in calling for public objections.

The residents have claimed that the running of the new school right opposite the new school would adversely affect the Right to Life guaranteed under Article 21 of the constitution.

They also claim that the power of the State to permit educational institutions in residential areas by permitting change of land use must be subservient to the fundamental right of the petitioners as guaranteed under Article 21.

Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar has ordered issue of notices to the Trust, state, BDA, BBMP and others.

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