Democratic pledges helped save All Saints Church land and more than 100 trees, citizens’ groups say

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A congregation of All Saints Church and citizens’ groups, such as Environment Support Group and Heritage Beku, have called the decision by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) to change the design of the Vellara Junction metro station a “win-win for all”. .”

The organizations said the Democratic pledges helped save the church grounds and green roofing on campus.

At a press conference here on Monday, they explained efforts to preserve the 150-plus-year-old church’s sacred grove and a special school.

For the construction of a metro station (Rashtriya Military School), BMRCL initially acquired 3,551 square meters of land, which met with strong resistance. In 2019, the BMRCL made further attempts to acquire additional land to build entry points to the station and for other purposes. Protests have continued and online campaigns have been organized to demand the authorities concerned to abandon the plan due to its impact on biodiversity and the heritage structure.

They had also approached the European Investment Bank (EIB) which is funding the project to save the church land from acquisition and explore other feasible options. They said that when efforts were made to persuade BMRCL, the Karnataka Industrial Zone Development Board (KIADB) issued a land acquisition notification, forcing the congregation and citizen groups to continue protests.

A statement said that after Anjum Parwez took office as the Director General of BMRCL, further deliberations took place to explore other options, which were attended by senior government officials from the state of Urban Development Department (UDD), yielding positive results. In accordance with the decision taken by the BMRCL, against the proposed acquisition of 4582 m², only 166 m² would be acquired permanently and 218 m² would be acquired temporarily. “Only seven trees would be felled or moved, compared to more than 100 trees that would have been destroyed. An agreement to this effect signed in January 2022”, specifies the press release.

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