Politicians, realtors and some local residents delay restoring land to university

The University of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore (UAS-B) won a major legal battle with a high-level committee headed by Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath — constituted on the Karnataka High Court’s directions — giving the thumbs down to the controversial link road slicing through the university campus and asking the land to be restored to the university.

But the process of restoring the land has been put off by a few days on police advice after local politicians, real estate agents and some residents protested the university’s move to repossess it and close the road on Thursday In September 2009, 24 acres of the university was acquired by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for the link road to connect Yelahanka with Bellary Road, and a 3.9 km stretch was laid at a cost of Rs. 15.19 crore.

Seven former vice-chancellors of the university, its alumni association and some environmentalists had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition in the High Court challenging the construction of the road through the university campus, which has been declared a heritage site under the Biological Diversity Act. They contended that the road would affect not only its biodiversity, but also sensitive farm experimental projects. The High Court disposed of the petition in September 2011 by asking the government to constitute a high-level committee to technically examine the contentions and resolve the matter.

Accordingly, the 11-member panel, led by Mr. Ranganath, asked the authorities concerned on March 30, 2013 to shelve the project and restore the land to the university.

The committee also pointed out that the BBMP’s standing committee on public works itself had termed this link road unscientific. The BBMP is said to have chopped off 688 trees to build this road.

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