Environment
Meanwhile, the HC has asked if the Steel Flyover case will be clubbed with this MPC case.
File image of protest against elevated corridor

The Karnataka High Court has once again stayed the controversial elevated corridor project for Bengaluru spread over 100 km of roads divided into four stretches.

The HC was hearing a case filed by the Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF) and Citizen’s Action Forum (CAF) in 2014, pertaining to the functioning of the Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC).

The division bench headed by Chief Justice AS Oka and Justice Dinesh Kumar on Monday extended the stay till June 17 when the matter will be heard again. This means the Karnataka Road Development Corporation (KRDCL) under the state Public Works Department, the implementing agency for the project cannot resume any work including the tendering process.

The HC had earlier stayed the project during its last hearing of the case in April. Meanwhile, the state government has been asked to make submissions with regards to the formation and functioning of the MPC.

The project is already facing stiff opposition as the project was okayed without due process and also because of the massive environmental and financial cost. While the project is pegged to cost Rs 30,000 crore, it will need at least 3,700 trees to be cut down.

Vijayan Menon, a member of CAF, said, “The case has got nothing to do with the EC particularly. We have been saying that the state government have been planning a lot of big projects with the elevated corridor being one of them. Therefore, the state government has been barred from taking action on any such projects. So the stay has been extended.”

He added, “The case has nothing to do with the merits or demerits of the elevated corridor project but about the due process.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the same bench, which was hearing the Steel Flyover case filed by NBF, asked if the case should be clubbed with the MPC case as the state government has scrapped the project.

Responding to that, the government counsel sought time to receive directions.

Background

According to the 74th Constitutional Amendment, all town planning activities have to be done by the Metropolitan Planning Committee, of which two-thirds of the members have to be elected corporators.

The petitioners had approached the court to direct the state government to ensure that all large scale projects like the elevated corridor are okayed only through the MPC followed by mandated public consultation processes.

The same case had resulted in the scrapping of a proposed “expert committee” for the betterment of Bengaluru headed by former Infosys chief Narayana Murthy soon after HD Kumaraswamy became the CM for the second time.