Anil Kumar Sastry

BMRC seeks 2,127 square metres of Cubbon Park land permanently to house its ancillary building

One-time amendment follows ceding of 1,300 square metres of Lal Bagh land to Namma Metro

BMRC has requested temporary allocation of 11,160.86 square metres for traffic diversion

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) is eyeing a goodly chunk of Cubbon Park, most of it for temporary use, but is seeking over 2,000 square metres as a permanent site, The Hindu has learnt.

Around half an acre of Cubbon Park — abutting the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Veedhi and between the two red buildings (High Court and the old KGID building) — will house an ancillary building of Namma Metro if BMRC’s plea for small portions of Cubbon Park land for the Namma Metro project is accepted.

The High Court had made it mandatory to obtain its clearance for any alienation of or construction in Cubbon Park in its order of August 13, 2001.

Applications by Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) and the State Government seeking the High Court’s permission for 2,126.71 square metres of land permanently and 11,160.86 square metres temporarily are pending before the High Court. The Government is in the process of amending the Karnataka Government Parks (Preservation) Act 1975, to remove hurdles in making the allotment.

This one-time amendment follows ceding of around 1,300 square metres of Lal Bagh land to Namma Metro for the Lal Bagh station some time ago through a similar amendment. Bangalore Metro plans to build an ancillary house in between old KGID Building and the High Court and steps for the Vidhana Soudha underground station on the land sought permanently.

BMRC has requested temporary allocation of 11,160.86 square metres of land in between the two buildings and inside the Cubbon Park to facilitate traffic diversion during construction of the Vidhana Soudha and Minsk Square underground stations. Initially, it had said it would require 1,600 square metres of land on a permanent basis and 4,090.50 square metres temporarily for the underground construction work.

In all, 116 trees, including 22 trees for traffic diversion, 65 for underground station and 29 for the ancillary building, all technically in Cubbon Park, will be felled for the proposed Vidhana Soudha underground station. The Government has told the High Court, the 2.65 acres of land temporarily required for traffic diversion constitutes only 1 per cent of the Cubbon Park area (260 acres) and it would be restored after construction of the underground station. Asked whether the amendment would not set a precedent for similar ceding of parklands, S.G. Hegde, Secretary to Government, Horticulture Department, said it would not. The decision was taken in larger public interest. “Metro is a one-of-a-kind project and its alignment cannot be changed like that of a road. If it was any other project, the Government would not have thought of giving the parkland,” he said.

Regarding BMRC’s application before the High Court, Mr. Hegde said when the court accords permission; it would support the Government move.

Meanwhile, the Government has filed an application before the High Court seeking permission to offer the parkland for Namma Metro construction work. It said around 231 square metres each is required for construction of steps for Entrance A (Gopala Gowda Circle) and Entrance B (Silver Jubilee Gate of the High Court) of the Vidhana Soudha underground station, and 1,663 square metres for a permanent ancillary building.

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