HC notice to government on road project

The Karnataka High Court has ordered issue of notice to the State government on a PIL petition which has alleged that ‘Bengaluru surrounding roads’ project executed at a cost of nearly ₹2,000 crore by the Karnataka Road Development Corporation Ltd. (KRDCL), is being implemented without obtaining mandatory environmental clearances.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum passed the order on the petition filed by, a trust engaged in campaigning to engage citizen in the decision-making process, and two others.

No clearances

The petitioner has alleged that the project of developing around 155 km of roads around the city is being executed in the absence of clearance as per the Environment Impact Assessment notification of 2006, and the forest clearance under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.

Claiming that the project is not a mere amalgamation of major district roads, State Highways, National Highways as termed by the government, the petitioners has said that it includes construction of new rail over bridges, under bridges, grade separators, elevated corridors and ‘threatens to cause widespread destruction and environmental degradation within the city’.

As the project requires felling around 8,500 trees within the city and surrounding areas, it will impact carbon sequestration in the region. It will create a urban heat zone accelerating the effect of global warming as even 14 fresh water lakes are being impacted, the petitioners contended.

Pointing out that the project involves development of a road through Bannerghatta National Park, the petitioners have contended that taking up the project within the national park and its eco-sensitive zone would impact the environment and wildlife as work has been taken up without clearance under provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

While seeking a direction to the government to stop work on the project, the petitioners have sought direction to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to initiate action against the State authorities for violation of environmental laws.

Make info public

The petitioners have sought a direction to the government and the KRDCL to make public complete information, including minutes of meetings and documents, clearances secured as per the law by uploading them online.

The High Court, in another PIL petition filed by Bangalore Environment Trust, had already directed a committee of experts, which is monitoring pleas for felling trees for a metro project, to examine whether it is necessary to fell the trees identified by the KRDCL.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 11:23:01 AM |

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