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‘Public consultation must in infrastructure planning'

Staff Reporter


Environment Support Group cites historic court directive to pull up metro authorities

‘Metro authorities can't bulldoze their way through neighbourhoods, violating KTCP Act'


Bangalore: Members of the Environment Support Group (ESG) have reiterated their demand to make public consultation mandatory in planning and implementing of the metro rail or any other infrastructure project.

Quoting last month's direction from the Karnataka High Court that civic agencies should henceforth consult the public and follow all provisions of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning (KTCP) Act before implementing any infrastructure project, ESG coordinator Leo F. Saldanha told presspersons on Friday that this direction should be strictly followed in the implementation of the second phase of Namma Metro.

Gross violation

The judgment follows a petition filed by ESG challenging the construction of the southern reach of Namma Metro as being in gross violation of the KTCP Act.

Pointing out that the court's “unprecedented decision also holds officials directly accountable for any lapse”, Mr. Saldanha said: “The judgment has enormous consequences to the further development of the metro or any other infrastructure project or town and country planning scheme. This path-breaking ruling will also be persuasive in securing similar relief in other States where metro and other mega infrastructure projects are being implemented, or proposed, in gross violation of land use planning laws,” he said.

Public interest excuse

He alleged that Namma Metro had been largely developed in blatant disregard of the public consultation requirements as laid down in the KTCP Act.

“While much of the 43-km phase I of the metro has been built or is at various stages of completion, the subsequent phases will have to fully conform with this decision of the High Court. Metro authorities cannot bulldoze their way through neighbourhoods in violation of the KTCP Act, merely on the justification that the project is in the public interest,” he asserted.

Ensuring compliance

“The ESG will do everything possible to ensure that the direction is followed strictly. We will not hesitate to file a case if the civic authorities fail to comply with the decision. We will also educate and train people to get this direction followed by civic agencies in every project,” he added.

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