Divya Gandhi and Deepa Kurup
‘It will lose 24 acres of land and 1,000 trees’
BANGALORE: Bulldozers have revved into action on the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) campus where the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is paving the way for a link road – no less than 100 ft wide – to connect National Highway 7 with Yeshwanthpur-Yelahanka Road.
The university is set to lose 24 acres of land for this 4.6-km link road, not to mention over a thousand trees and critical research plots. In its hurry to complete the Rs. 27-crore project before the monsoon sets in, the BBMP has gone ahead with the work without permission from the university, claim members of the Association of Teachers of UAS. However, the BBMP says the project, aimed at “decongesting the road to the airport”, adheres to the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP-2015).
Starting at the university’s Bellary Road entrance, the link road will run along its southern boundary – bordering Sahakaranagar, Thindlu village and Vidyaranyapura – covering mango orchards and sunflower fields, and ending at Yeshwanthpur-Yelahanka Road. Roadwork has proceeded disregarding a set of seven conditions put forward to the BBMP by the Secretary, Department of Agriculture, on March 24. These include reducing the width of the road by 20 ft., compensation by providing land or guidance value, and widening the existing road from Yeshwanthpur and Vidyaranyapura to Thindlu village instead of building a new one along the border.
In January, the BBMP requested the university to “provide land without compensation”, promising it “uninterrupted water and power supply” in return. The BBMP and the university have since been locked in a bitter battle over road alignment, its dimensions and land compensation.
The collateral damage on the campus will be huge. “A large part of the sunflower research area, including a students’ research plot, will be lost,” a faculty member said.
The All-India Coordinated Research Project on sunflower research, which experiments with hybrid varieties, is considered one of the most important projects in the country. The National Centre for Biological Studies (NCBS), Karnataka Remote Sensing Agency and Stem Cell Research Institute will now be isolated from their parent campus. Joint Commissioner (Byatarayanpura) Virupaksha Mysore told The Hindu that the road plans had been notified in the CDP-2015.