Petition update

BMRC to acquire church land for Metro, Tree Officer says not yet

Chris HD

May 12, 2019 — 

“Cutting down trees to build the Metro line just cannot happen without the permission of the Tree Officer,” affirms M K Cholarajappa, Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) and Tree Officer, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

Cholarajappa’s response is a firm and surprising counter to a press note released by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) on Friday. The note had announced that the construction of the Vellara Junction station in Richmond Town would not be stopped. This station is along Metro’s Red Line, from Gottigere to Nagawara. Activists had opposed Metro construction here, claiming that it would involve cutting of over 100 trees in the All Saints Church compound.

Opposing BMRC’s announcement, Cholarajappa says, “Even a single tree cannot be cut without the permission of the Tree Officer, according to the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act, 1976.” And if the project involves cutting more than 50 trees, it has to go through a public hearing involving BMRCL, BBMP, church members and other citizens. However, BMRC, in its press release, had claimed that the project would be tweaked so that less than 50 trees would have to be cut (which implies that a public consultation would not be required).

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