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Concerns over lack of transparency in SCHBS, Koramangala, Developments

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Urban Development

Following is the text of a letter sent to the BDA, jointly by the office bearers of affected RWA's, in March this year, because of the Shantinagar House Building Co-op Society developments taking place, over the 65 acre area in the vicinity of the Nirgun Mandir, in Koramangala (check here for details of the area):

As stressed during our meeting, while we have no complaints or objections to any development activity being undertaken by the society, we had reason to believe that the same was being undertaken without authority or due process as required under the rules/law. Consequent to your intervention, we are pleased to note that the society has stopped work pending submission and approval of plan and getting clearances from various authorities as required under law. We also thank you for the same.

The development of any layout on this landlocked piece of land without providing necessary infrastructure for its sustenance, and indeed the sustenance of layouts/habitation that are pre-existing around will have irretrievable impact on their quality of life as well.  We foresee serious limitations in infrastructure  that need  thorough investigation and rectification before sanctioning the plan of the society.

1) Access
The Society is developing a massive layout (covering more than 62 acres of land) in an area that is currently landlocked for which the one and only access to it is through narrow residential roads in ST Bed and 1st Block Koramangala, both converging into one bottleneck at ‘Seva in Action’ before joining with the land in question, and connecting to settlements beyond. This bottleneck is no more than 12 meters wide at the widest and less at most places and remains one of the worst and most congested in Koramangala. Currently this access is the only one available to thousands of families living in the following neighboring areas.

a) ST Bed Layout from Sarjapura Road (main corridor),
b) Nirguna Mandir Complex
c) Esteem Royale
d) Veracious Enrica
e) Gem Residency
f) Jakkasandra Block (old Jakkasandra Village area)
g) Cauvery Layout

It is imperative that a Traffic Study and Analysis is undertaken by reputed independent bodies like Indian Institute of Science to determine whether the existing access is adequate to cater for the additional traffic density during and after the development period.

Besides the one and only access (which passes through existing narrow residential roads) that are far too inadequate in terms of both capacity to take  additional traffic density nor are they built to take heavy vehicle loads that will be used for conveying building materials to the new development.

On the other hand, in the Masterplans of both 1995 and 2015, a 24 meters wide road is sought to be provided connecting IRR (at Ejipura Jn) and ORR (near Bellandur). This road alignment runs on the periphery of the new development under SHBCS. It is imperative that before any further activity is permitted, the construction of this 24 meters wide road is completed. Otherwise there is no other way to reach the new area under SHBCS other than through the narrow residential roads which will cause unfathomable chaos in the lives of existing residents.

2) Water bodies and water channels
The entire area under development lies in the valley zone through which 3 major and several minor water channels exist/existed. Revenue records (copies available with us) clearly show that there are several tracts of channels and ‘Kharab” lands in this area, now sought to be developed. It is essential that existing channels and all ‘kharab’ land is demarcated and not permitted to be used for private development. There are laws and bye laws that protect existing water channels and permit the use of ‘Kharab’ lands.  While approving the layout plan, it is incumbent upon the authority to see that all laws and bye laws and rules laid down by the authority itself are strictly followed and all ‘protected’ areas and buffer zones along water channels/SWDs are in conformity with the rules laid down in CDP 2015. Koramangala valley has already been ravaged beyond description and this area lies in the sensitive zone. It must be protected at all costs from further indiscriminate misuse.

3) Environmental Issues
The area in question lies in the valley zone of Koramangala and is the primary water shed area of Bellandur Tank – a major water body of Bangalore. To the best of our knowledge, no Environment Impact Study (EIS) has been done and no clearance has been obtained from the authorities concerned. We are particularly concerned with the resultant air, noise and water pollutions that will result from the development, if not permitted in a conservative manner. Before any approval is given to the development, a close and exhaustive EIS must be done. It must also be ensured that waste water management and road connectivity with the existing layouts is coordinated so that there is no adverse impact on the pre-existing dwellings.

4) Supporting Infrastructure and Life Saving Services
a) Any development of this area will inevitably affect the existing population. With only one narrow access available, that too rifled through narrow residential roads, there is a grave and imminent danger of life saving services like Fire Services and Ambulance Services being denied, especially where time is of the greatest essence, to a very large section of the population. The experience of Fire Tenders and Ambulances wading through the one and only point of entry and exit for hundreds of vehicles, particularly during the peak traffic hours is frightening to imagine. With no further improvement in road infrastructure, traffic management is becoming difficult if not impossible. Without alternate access future traffic scenario looks pretty grim if not hopeless.

b) It also well known fact that Bengaluru has limited quantity of water available and the availability in the future is far from promising. Ground water  of good quality has already depleted grossly.  The existing and future population must be safeguarded against further depletion of water availability to them.

Under the circumstances, we strongly suggest that before formal approval is given for any future development on large scale anywhere in Bangalore (as in the case of  and starting with Shantinagar House Building Cooperative Society), a full and detailed impact study is done jointly by all concerned /departments such as:

Pollution Control Board, BWSSB, BBMP, Traffic Police/Experts, Fire Department, Ambulance Services, Lake Development Authority, Local Residents, Airports Authority of India

Approval of plans should be given only after critical analysis and within the limitations laid down by the above group. Till then we urge that no further work be permitted on the ground. Also that approval should be given only after our apprehensions are addressed in a holistic manner. We will be happy to interact with you or anyone from the authorities in this regard.

Tanking you, Yours sincerely, etc.

Meanwhile, there are serious question marks on the ownership issues pertaining to this land. A glimpse of that may be had here.

Muralidhar Rao

Comments

silkboard's picture

Murali, any new material on this?

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Carrying over from the other post on the new mall on Agara lake, wanted to know if you have seen sanction plan for this project. I am just curious to see up close how such large projects are sanctioned. If there is a document, lets scan and put it up for all to see.

Sanction plans must be having sections for water, sanitation, transportation, emergency access etc. Time to just put up the details for one or two large projects for all to see what goes on there.

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