Bengaluru

Citizens’ groups oppose acquisition of All Saints’ Church land, start online petition

The petition says that the location has an extraordinary biodiversity with over 100 species of trees.   | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

The controversy over the acquisition of a portion of land belonging to All Saints’ Church for the construction of the underground Rashtriya Military School station (formerly Vellara Junction) has come to the forefront again.

Several citizen groups have opposed Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation’s move to acquire 880 square meters of the land to build an entry box for the proposed station. A notice has already been served to the management of the church. However, several citizens’ groups, including the Environment Support Group, have started an online petition to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.

The land is a “beautiful and serene sacred grove of this architecturally distinctive 150-year-old church,” said petitioners.

When contacted, Managing Director of BMRCL Anjum Parwez said that metro work at the Vellara Junction has reached an advanced stage. The BMRCL is acquiring the land in the interest of the public, he said.

To build the entry box of the station, BMRCL has to remove 60 to 70 trees inside the church. The officials said that identified trees will be translocated within the premises.

Apart from its importance to the church, the petitioners stated that the suite has extraordinary biodiversity with studies revealing over 100 species of trees, some over 150 years old, forming an intricate and complex microecosystem. “This space supports at least 25 species of birds, and forms a critical link to their movements.”

‘No impact on the church structure’

Mr Parwez said that in the beginning the BMRCL had plans to acquire 3,500 square meters of the land for the project, but after receiving objections from the church, it conducted multiple consultations to change the design and reduce the extent of land required.

“After a lot of technical consultations, the BMRCL has decided to acquire 880 square meters of land. Of the 880 square meters of the land, permanent structures will come up in 250 odd square meters of the land. The remaining land is required to facilitate the construction work. I would also clarify that we are ready to give back the remaining 630 square metres of the land to the church management after completion of the project,” the official said.

When asked about concerns raised about the metro work would harm the heritage structure. “I understand the sentiments expressed by the people. I would like to clarify that tunnel working will not be affected. We are doing the acquisition in the public interest. Not acquiring the land would result in further delay in executing the project otherwise we will not be in opposition to complete the work at Vellara Junction. We will not be in a position to complete the project.” the official said.


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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 4:25:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/citizens-groups-oppose-acquisition-of-all-saints-church-land-start-online-petition/article37727464.ece

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