Not moving it will add another Rs. 100 crore to project, BMRCL tells court

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) on Thursday informed the Karnataka High Court that any “accidental damage cannot be ruled out” to B.R. Ambedkar’s statue, located in front of the Vidhana Soudha, during the excavation work for the metro project.

In its affidavit, BMRCL stated that additional cost of carrying out excavation without removing the statue could be much higher than originally estimated and the additional cost could be as high as Rs. 100 crore.

Making it clear that though excavation was being done without removing the statue by taking all precautions as per technical suggestions from experts, BMRCL stated that “… due to the deep excavation, where the soil strata keeps changing and excavation is close below the statue, there is a risk of accidental damage to the statue.”

…the implications for non-removal of the statue are more serious than originally estimated…. With contractor’s claiming idling cost of Rs. 30 lakh per TBM (tunnel boring machine) per day the delay costs could reach an additional Rs. 100 crore,” BMRCL said quoting the technical report given in this regard by its general consultants. BMRCL pointed out that the government, on June 4, 2009, had issued an order for temporarily relocating three statues — of Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose and Ambedkar — situated in front of the Vidhana Soudha. While the other two statues were shifted to a nearby location, Ambedkar’s statue could not be relocated as the Minister for Social Welfare, in view of sentiments of certain sections, on October 25, 2010 stopped shifting of the statue though a pedestal was ready for that purpose, the company said.

BMRCL submitted the affidavit during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition filed by Dalit organisations opposing the shifting of the statue after the High Court on December 12 directed the government to temporarily shift the statue within 15 days.

Adjourned

Meanwhile, the government filed an application seeking two months’ extension of time given for shifting the statue. The court adjourned hearing by two weeks.