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May 6, 2009

The metro war with Lalbaugh park in Bengaluru.

Many years ago, there was a plan to destroy cubbon park and build a freedom fighter’s memorial called the veera soudha. People protested, and there was a move to shift it “somewhere else”, the Govt. circular from that time says. Excerpt about the struggle at that time:

About two decades ago a large portion of Lalbagh was marked out for a massive Veera Soudha. Five thousand people gathered and protested. The Government breathed fire and the then Chief Minister made statements that they would implement the project come what may. But people persisted, and the Government had to back down. Which is why you now see no Veera Soudha in Bangalore, and Lalbagh is intact.
A decade ago, 32 acres of Cubbon Park were marked out for building a large hotel complex. Several of us protested. Dharma, Chandra and many others from Sanmathi stood there and protested for close to 40 days.  Not only the Government, but the entire Legislature was against us. They even made many insulting remarks against women, so lewd that the statements had to be expunged from the record. Eventually the plans to build a large hotel complex for the legislators were abandoned, which is why you now see the Indira Gandhi fountains.
The point is clear. It is people’s protests that stopped such disastrous destruction of parks then. It is only people’s protests that will stop the destruction of Lalbagh and Lakshman Rao Park, and give us a Metro that we truly deserve. Something that will last a hundred years, and something for which Mr. Yeddyurappa’s great grandchildren will also praise him and his wisdom in stopping the current alignment, his wisdom in re-aligning the Metro to save Lalbagh, Lakshman Rao Park and half of Bangalore.

We, the citizen wonder why the Metro needs to destroy Lalbaugh park and LR Park. As per a mail being circulated by Hasiru Usiru:

The Government passed an Ordinance on 22 November 2008 to avoid bringing the issue to the Assembly and Council for debate. This Ordinance is illegal because it has taken out a portion of Lal Bagh and Cubbon Park without seeking the permission of the Karnataka High Court as required by its judgements.

What’s more, the Government has directed the Horticulture Department to sell a piece of Lalbagh to the Metro at a price fixed by the Bangalore District Commissioner! A terrible precedent is being established.

The Karnataka Parks (Preservation) Act requires special permission to be taken before altering Lalbaugh or Cubbon Parks. This has not been done.

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