The Congress has warned that it will go on a protest if the BBMP did not revise the list of roads that have been identified for widening, within a month.
At a press conference on Tuesday, opposition party leader in the BBMP council, MK Gunashekar, said the Palike had identified 216 roads seven years ago for widening. He said most of these roads are in the central parts of the city and buildings along the roads were marked for acquisition. All said and done, he pointed out, only 20 roads were widened so far.
Gunashekar said there was a lot of uncertainty regarding whether or not the other roads would be widened, and this was causing inconvenience to people whose properties were marked for acquisition for widening. He said the building owners could neither sell their property nor divide it among their children owing to uncertainty regarding the fate of their property. He said the property owners were not even getting tenants because of the issue.
Further, Gunashekar said the BBMP needed more than Rs17,000 crore to compensate those whose property would be acquired for widening 100 roads alone. He alleged that if the BBMP could not take up road widening, it was because it did not have enough money to pay compensation; also, it cannot forcibly acquire properties by imposing TDR on the owners. He alleged that the process of identifying roads for widening was not done scientifically.
The opposition leader in the BBMP council said the Palike had failed to publish the annual programme on road widening, in violation of Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961. He said he had raised the issue in the council a few times and former mayor Nataraj had promised to take up the issue with the minister concerned, but nothing came out of it.
Gunashekar said he would write a letter to chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda in this regard and if even the chief minister does not take any action within a month, he would consult his party leaders and decide future course of action.
Gunashekar, who was addressing the media on the occasion of World Environment Day, said the BBMP should set up a tree authority under the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976. The mayor should be the chairperson and the committee should meet once every three months to undertake programmes for maintaining and preserving trees and parks in the city.
He said merely celebrating Environment Day was not enough and serious action was required in this regard. He said the mayor and the BBMP commissioner have failed to set up the committee and improve the city’s green cover. Further, he alleged that the BBMP had gone ahead with plantation drive even though it had not procured tree guards. He asked how the BBMP could protect the saplings without tree guards.
To highlight the authorities’ anti-green approach, the opposition leader reeled out the number of trees axed in various parts of the city: 120 on CNR Rao Road ; 124 near M Chinnaswamy stadium for Namma Metro work; 74 on Hosur Luskar Road ; 249 on Yashwanthpur Swastika Circle for Metro work; 319 on Mysore-Magadi Road ; and 180 trees on RV Road .
Gunashekar said that in 2007-08, the BBMP axed 2,817 trees. In 2008-09, 1,343 trees were felled and in 2009-10, 612 were felled. He said there should be a census on trees in the city to ensure accountability.