Around 150 trees, 152-year-old church won’t be demolished for Bengaluru metro

Photo: IENS

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A special school for autistic children will also be spared under new concessions.
  • Decision taken after the officials of the European Investment Bank came to take the field report.
  • Activists had written letters to the EIB and administrative officials.

bangalore: the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) agreed to save about 150 trees and 152 years Church of All Saints which had to be removed for the construction of an underground metro station.

Environmentalists, locals and church worshipers have come together to protect the area by staging peaceful protests and mounting a letter-writing campaign to the administration against the proposed project.

The BMRCL project released in 2018 was to build the metro station directly on the church premises. A bakery and a garage were also taken over by the BMRCL, angering residents.

The initial plan, however, included an environmental impact study and called for the station to be built opposite the church on property already owned by the government.

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The plan then shifted to building the station on the church campus. Some religious and environmental groups united in protest against the decision and also involved the European Investment Bank (EIB), which finances the Namma Metro project.

Two EIB officials traveled to Bengaluru to discuss the issues with BMRCL Managing Director Ajay Seth and some activists including representatives of All Saints Church. At the meeting, it was decided that BMRCL would accept certain concessions from the plan, including giving up the church campus and trees in the area.

With the latest compromised state of a school for autistic children, Aparna School will also be spared from the metro expansion project. However, a lush grove, with abundant flora in front of the church campus, is expected to disappear, but a significantly smaller area opposite to that originally proposed.

Most of the trees in the area would be moved.

Jerry B. Hatch