Peripheral Ring Road gets environment panel okay

Peripheral Ring Road gets environment panel okay

The BDA has finally got the green signal from the Union environment committee for its eight-lane Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) and now faces the tough task of land acquisition.

The 73.5-km road passes through six lakes and the Thippagondanahalli catchment area.

The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) had come under fire for gross underestimating environmental impact.

Officials had claimed only 200 trees would be cut for the project. The number then went up to 16,685. A revised report last year put the number at 32,175 trees.

The first environment clearance granted by the state environment authority (SEIAA) in November 2014 was quashed by the National Green Tribunal, which pointed to various discrepancies.

Last year, the BDA approached the SEIAA again to obtain clearance. This time, the SEIAA stepped aside and forwarded the proposal to the Expert Appraisal Committee under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest Climate Change.

The central committee last week recommended environmental clearance subject to the BDA complying with about 20 directions, including afforestation and rainwater harvesting. One condition is that it can’t cut heritage trees.

The eight-lane road passes through or beside six lakes. The committee has told the BDA to change the alignment in case heritage trees come in its way. The BDA has to similarly bypass trees that host waterfowl (pelicans, storks, etc.).

“Apart from land compensation, the loss for the crop has also to be compensated,” it said.

Flyover in Jarakabande

The BDA also requires clearance from the Forest Advisory Committee for about 20 acres of the Jarakabande reserve forest. Forest officials have documented it as a habitat for small herbivores and birds.

“We presented to the forest authorities, and they said that the road should not divide the forest into two segments. We are coming up with a proposal to raise the road level to allow animals to pass without disturbance,” a senior BDA official said.

Land acquisition

The BDA is now staring at the challenge of completing the acquisition of land. Though the final notification for the acquisition was issued in 2007, confusion over compensation remains.

Farmers are demanding compensation as laid down under the Fair Compensation Act, which means the project cost could exceed the estimated Rs 21,000 crore.

“The BDA board has sent the proposal to the state cabinet to decide on the land cost. It is left to the government to take the project forward,” the senior official added.


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