Nearly five years after the authorities concerned revised the alignment of Namma Metro line in the heart of Bangalore, the State Government has given it an official stamp of approval.
Sources in the Government told The Hindu that an Empowered Committee, headed by the then Chief Secretary, had, in August-Sept 2005, changed the alignment of the underground section of Namma Metro's East-West Corridor in the wake of opposition to carrying out works in the “ecologically sensitive” Cubbon Park.
Against the original alignment that was supposed to enter Cubbon Park in front of MS Building and emerge at Queens statue after passing through the Rose Garden, the Empowered Committee suggested the current alternative, which would take the underground alignment through Ambedkar Veedhi, GPO and Minsk Square before emerging at BRV Parade Grounds and passing through Anil Kumble Circle.
The new alignment also meant that underground stations would come up at Minsk Square between the High Court and Vidhana Soudha. Though the Empowered Committee changed the alignment five years ago, the Government had not ratified the decision.
Thus, there was no official sanction for the revised stretch and also for the additional costs involved, which, according to 2005 figures, worked out to Rs. 180 crore. All departments concerned were unaware of the non-approval of the revised alignment and were implementing the work until the High Court pointed it out to the Government.
A Division Bench comprising Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Keshavanarayana on April 23, 2010 pointed out that it could give the go-ahead to the project only if the Cabinet or the Government gave it administrative sanction. With no alternative, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) had to place the matter once again before the Government for approval.
With the Government approving the revised stretch and also the costs, it is now for the High Court to give the go-ahead.
Advocate-General Ashok Harnahalli said the Government order okaying the revised alignment and costs have been filed in the High Court and work will commence once the court approves it. He says apart from permitting the revised alignment the court would have to give the green signal for taking up work in Cubbon Park for construction of two alternative roads once Ambedkar Veedhi is closed for traffic from GPO Circle to Gopala Gowda Circle.