The Karnataka High Court has put the controversial elevated corridor project on hold by passing an interim stay order on starting work on the project until the next hearing in the case.
The High Court asked the state government to halt work on the project while hearing a petition filed two years ago by Citizens'Action Forum on the functioning of the Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC). The court observed that the state government had decided to start work on the project without clearing it with the MPC, which is mandated for any development project in Bengaluru.
The Citizens' Action Forum had told the court that Karnataka Road Development Corporation (KRDCL) had invited bids for the elevated corridor project without getting clearance from the MPC.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for June 3. The High Court had previously asked the state government to halt work on the project while hearing the same case in March.
The High Court's decision brings relief to protesting residents who have been fighting against the project proposed by the state government, which plans to build a network of elevated corridors in Bengaluru spanning 102 km in the city.
Before the Lok Sabha elections, KRDCL had invited bids for starting working on a part of the project. Moreover, more than 3700 trees are set to be cut across the city for the project, including 120 trees in the iconic Cubbon Park area.
Residents and activists agitated against the state government seeking public consultation on the project.
A Change.org petition on the issue was signed by more than 2.5 lakh people while a protest was held on March 16 at Maurya Circle in the city. Following the protest, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy announced that he would be holding public consultation before starting work on the project.
The High Court also directed that an expert committee be set up to examine if there are ways to save trees proposed to be cut down for the elevated corridor project.
The expert committee will be constituted with members from the fields of environment, science and technology. "After exhausting all methods, if it is found that it is impossible to save any tree, only then it shall be permissible to cut trees. The expert committee will give its opinion on saving trees," noted Justice PS Dinesh Kumar, while hearing the case related to the controversial project.