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Need Your Presence at the Nanda Rd Event This Saturday

The protests opposing the current plans of the Bangalore Metro in the Southern Reach have been well publicized in the mainstream media. As a result, they have elicited statements from politicians across party lines supporting  the suggestion that the design and alignment of the metro be re-examined before further work is taken up. Interestingly, earlier this week, the Chief Minister has made an adamant statement  saying there cannot be any change to the current plan of the Metro. Why then, did his Transport Minister state otherwise in a pre-election statement? If we do not hold our leaders accountable to pre-election promises, no one will.

As a result of the CM's blessing, the metro authorities are proceeding with impunity. on May 6 they felled trees in Lalbagh under police protection. It is interesting that the police are busy protecting an action that on various counts is blatantly illegal, and in contempt of the High Court's direction. For example, at the present moment there is no documentary evidence that the portion of Lalbagh that has been "given away" is actually owned by the BMRCL at present. As a result, the court finally stepped in on May 7 and issued a stay on all metro work in the Southern Reach, prohibiting all tree-felling until further notice.

While legal means, including a contempt of court filing, are underway, it is imperative that citizens come out and voice their opinion on the short-sighted planning of the Bangalore Metro. Why should portions of the 200-year old Botanical Garden, as well as what is considered by many as urban India's finest tree-lined avenue (Nanda Road) make way for an concrete, overground monstrosity, overground stations, parking lots, shopping malls, and bus stations. Are there no alternatives? It turns out there are. The metro can go underground (albeit at a higher cost). The metro could go along K.R. Road. The metro could go along Jayanagar 11th main. Have these alternatives been explored in all sincerity? Nothing in the Metro Detailed Project Report suggests so.

Hence, this is an appeal to all citizens to come and participate in  a peaceful protest on Saturday May 9, at 8 am. We will assemble at 32nd Cross & Nanda Road (4th Main), Jayanagar. Please visit for details. Please note, Saturday's event is of special significance because officials of the BMRCL, including its Managing Director, will be available on-site. So this is a great opportunity to voice your opinion. Bring friends, bring family, bring colorful posters. More information about the ongoing campaign and the rationale behind is available at this petition which has already been signed by over 3000 people.

spry's picture

why this protest?

I dont know why there is so much protest for metro rail. It would be better if someone can also attach "reason for protest" whenever they seeks participation form Praja Folk for any kind of protest. I am sure people protesting metro rail for the reason  "cutting trees" have some other motive. Why there is no protest whenever there is an announcement of new layout. As formation of any layout means cuting "thounsand of trees"..still no protest from this pseudo green lovers... had they been sincere in their effort in ensuring green bangalore they wouldnt have allowed formation of any BDA layout..they should have been living in apartment in any tall building as it means less damage to green cover.

Srivatsava's picture

I will try to answer...

          The answer to this question is a little tricky. I may end up violating a few guidelines in trying to answer your question.

           The answer to this question is that the people of this city/country are very opiniated about corrupt politicos and administrators. We tend to believe that ALL our people are corrupt; In doing so, we also do believe that people who have a clean record after having high offices are very efficient and intelligent, which need not be true. We dont understand that being 'clean' and having 'vision' for development are two different things.

           There is one such Mr. Clean , knowledgable in law. Most Bangaloreans have experienced his greatest contribution to Bangalore, the stretch from SJP road to Hudson Circle, but do not know that it his contribution. One of the most discussed topics (much before the metro days) was the Sirsi circle Flyover. Most people didnt see sense if did not go on upto Hudson circle. There are a few posts on Praja expressing the same opinion. Today, we have the flyover ramping down on to the SJP road, and there is a mess in the vehicular movement from SJP Road upto hudson Circle, with innumerable vehices contributing to excessive pollution.

          This pollution and irksome trouble is not because of the corrupt babu, but a Clean man (mistaken to be part of the intelligentsia) and a tree lover. His love for the 30-40 trees at the Silver Jubilee Park is the root cause for all the flyover not going upto Hudson Circle, and its also the root cause for all the pollution and dust in the area. Ironical, that a man who loved nature so much, that a decade later, he is identified as the root cause for pollution.

           Now, the man is not satisfied about this one contribution to Bangalore. He wants to contribute more. So, he has identified himself agianst a larger project in bid to 'increase' his contribution. He was till recently the co-ordinator of Environment Support Group, but has now joined the Hasiru Usiru bandwagon.

A request to Hasiru-Usiru:

              Hasiru is visible, and HU is striving to retain the visible part of its agenda. Usiru is not visible, and HU has conveniently forgotten the same. Metro will provide better Usiru for us in the decades to come. Please do not hinder the project by non-sense talk like "it will be constructed for the next 100 years; it will eat into existing road space etc" ( from this Hasiru-Usiru link).

            Instead, Strive to ensure that all localities/layouts planned in the future will have sufficient land marked for Metro lines. Educate the people that Metro is a non-polluting form of mass transport, taking much lesser space than buses and operating much faster than any other form of city transport.

-Srivatsava V

-Srivatsava V

kanishkaRCML's picture

Reasons for protest are well documented

Dear Spry,

Before questioning the motivation and assigning false motives to the protesters, it would be great if one would actually read the various articles that have recently been written on the issue.

This letter to the CM has a fair amount of depth:

Also, please do browse the following website:

This article spells out how the Metro is guilty of serious differences between its plans and claims vs work on the ground.

Finally, if you would like some demystification of who these protesters and what their motives are, I would be glad to help you out. Easiest, just drop by at one of the protests, and you will see for yourself. 

silkboard's picture

The best one so far was ...

[Srivastava makes me go on record with my stand on this. I had been hiding so far to stay clear and diplomatic.]

A group of women were protesting near Laxman Rau Park a week ago. A Deccan Herald reporter went to meet them and asked why they were doing so. They told the reporter something like this:

  • We knew that Metro was coming to RV Road
  • But we always thought that Metro was under ground here
  • But one day we saw all the digging and construction
  • and then people told us that it is not underground, it is all over ground.

Not being aware of things ahead of time (same excuse was used for the HAL vs BIAL airport thing which will re-ignite soon)  - how good an excuse should it be?

There are all sorts of discussion on - "we were not involved", "they are not transparent" etc. We discuss this matter as well. But there are hardly any solutions proposed, or activism shown to demand such "participation".

The right battle to fight is involvement and transparency (types of thing MVKK sir is advocating on other threads). That will attack the "source" of such last minute flare ups.

Even with participation thing addressed - there would always be people who will show up at the last moment saying "we were not aware". A system where each and every person is rounded up and forced to be aware - is it possible? May be - perhaps, via a referandum for all projects that cost over Rs 500 crores, or touch more than 3 assembly constutuencies.

It is late - we knew it, but we missed it. The reality is - we don't spend enough quality time to "analyze" these projects. Most activist groups and NGOs focus on field work and protest, or they analyze things in closed and polarized groups. And the other reality is - we can't draw people out for protests till the projects come down to the state where the work is "visible".

Metro today, BIAL agreement last year, before that Bangalore Masterplan 2015, before that BMTC expansion plans (MBS, Volvo etc) - these were all chances that we missed. These are projects that can't be analyzed by the masses. But handful of us - just 20-30 dedicated people per city - not doing anything but tracking and analyzing these projets and demanding transparency and explanations when these are planned and designed - wouldn't this prevent a lot of such last minute stalemate?

We must credit HU for setting an example on coordinating and managing campaigns for the cause they believe in - they are real activists. They are doing well to popularize the issues of sustainability. For example - salute them for taking BBMP heads on about mindless Road widening. Love HU for doing that.

But going hammer and tongs after the full project, again and again (It seems to me they have been against the whole Metro project, not just the RV Road stretch) - I don't get that. If RV Road protest were to be the first time I had heard about HU talking against Metro - I would not have typed this comment. But since I know that Metro will be criticized by the group no matter what - with people suggesting alternates to DPR and criticizing all pre-work done (asuming expertise in all areas) - I have been a little hesitant.

Srivastava - one thing you said there is so right - most of us assume that the people sitting in government are out there to harm us. Like they are all sitting and plotting the next worst thing, extorting money from us etc. This popular "notion" discourages "participation".

Most of us here on Praja are "no-ones". Absolutely nobody people, with no "connections" or anything at all. And, in just an year, 20-30 of us have gone and met BMTC, BMLTA, Police, BDA, BBMP etc etc - you name them. A few phone calls, just a litle persistence is all it took for us to see that participation is not hard, its simply a function of time and enthu we are willing to put - we are the bigger problem. Plus, there is RTI - easy, maximum 2 months process to know all you want to about anything.

Yes, just meeting and cajoling the babus and workers is not it - there is much much more to participation. But we know that the doors are not as closed as most people think it to be. There are enough "well meaning" folks on that 'other' side - who, if we work with, are willing to consume things we want to tell and explain.

silkboard's picture

Spry, don't doubt their sincerity

Spry, don't doubt their sincerity, or their motives for the protests. From what I know, they are dedicated activists, with no ulterior or hidden motives as such.

Don't make those assumptions please.

Opting to disagree with their stand - leave it at that. Disagree witht protest, not the protesters.

In my comment above - I am not claiming legal knowledge of Metro's ground operations. BMRCL may very well be violating laws. I am nobody to give a clean chit to them. I wrote my note solely based on the perception I have developed about Hasiru Usiru - polarized dedicated activists who oppose Metro as a project, not just the work at RV Road.

s_yajaman's picture

If not for protesters

Till now Mr,Sivasailam was not even willing to listen.  The PIL made him take a walk and explain things a little more humbly and not from the ivory tower that he was sitting in till now.  If not for protesters and watchdogs, democracy will be in peril.  HU is well within its rights to protest. 

While BBMP and BESCOM and BMRC might not intentionally harm people, the quality of work they do leaves a lot to be desired.  There is unintentional damage - but damage nonetheless.  I will post pictures on some drainage work happening in Richmond Town.  It is appalling to see it.  Stones over drains adjacent to people's compound walls have been laid that are so high that one needs Battle tanks to get in and out.  Stones are thrown all the place.  The whole place has been turned into some sort of earthquake zone


Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

s_yajaman's picture

Other option - cut one we plant three

See the other/complementary effort.

"Planting saplings is the need of hour and protests are not an alternative," said B N Shivshankar, an environmentalist who is leading the initiative. "We have to plant more trees before it's too late."

About 200 engineers from Wipro and Infosys, apart from members of groups such as Green Army and Samraksha will participate in the initiative, starting on World Environment Day, June 5. "


This is fantastic.  May their tribe increase.  If I am in Bangalore on June 5th I plan to join this effort. 


Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

kanishkaRCML's picture

Recent protests are in fact about transparency & rule of law.

Just to be clear, these protests at Lalbagh and Nanda Road (as well as other ones related to road widening, and privatization of lakes) are fundamentally a demand for democratic process. They are not short-sighted protests that only aim at saving a few trees, or stopping the metro work for the sake of self-gratification. It's understandable that from the outside, this fundamental objective is not more visible. I believe both the media (and yes, many of the placards we hold)  choose to highlight only the emotional aspect of the trees.

However, if one looks at the work that happens on the ground - the petitions in the courts, the petitions to the CM, the argument is basically for implementing lawful democratic process.

If the right principles were used in coming up with the plan, then who are we to complain? There would be no basis for the protests.

Another important clarification: HU has not taken any official stand in terms of being against the Metro in totalilty. First, one needs to understand that HU is *not* an NGO. It is a collection of individual citizens, as well as some NGOs. *Anyone* can join HU (in fact I would strongly encourage all readers of this fantastic forum to do so ( What this means is, there is a *HUGE* diversity of opinion in HU. For example, there are  people who are completely against the metro project, as well as people who believe the metro can do wonders for Bangalore's mobility crisis. There are numerous government officials on the mailing list as well. So essentially, I would advise against taking the opinions of a few people and applying it to all of HU.

If one really wants to analyze official stands, one should look at the record of court petitions and press releases (they are on the HU and ESG websites). None of these have the hardline stance that some people accuse HU of.

I agree with Silkboard that one could have a debate as to what constitutes transparent democratic process. Civil society must have that debate. But since it is likely to be a lengthy one, in the meantime, we must settle for (no, we must in fact demand) the transparency that is required by current state and municipal law. Turns out the existing laws, if properly complied with by agencies such as the BBMP and BMRCL, will likely prevent many of the ill-advised infrastructure development projects that we see today. An example being the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, Chapter 5 of which requires that public consultations be held on infrastructure projects. I was at a meeting of a High Court appointed committee meeting, where the BBMP officials were arrogant enough to say "no one ever follows that law - why should we all of a sudden have to follow it?". It's these kind of statements that make one's blood boil, because it tells you that our pavements are vanishing, pathetic-quality underpasses are being constructed, trees are often cut, in full violation of law, using our money. Who gains? Perhaps some contractors, perhaps the timber-mafia. Who loses? Us.

If this doesn't want to make you come out and protest, what will?

sreejis12's picture

So what

The rest of Bangalore has been made devoid of all trees. All the people are suffering with the pollution. If the nanda road trees are cut, then all the posh residents of that area will know about the suffering of the rest of Bangalore.  Let this be a lesson for all bangaloreans who sat on their behinds when trees were bein cut allover bangalore. Honestly a few trees (yes few compared to the trees already cut in rest of blore) will not make any difference in the poor quality of life of Bangaloreans. It will be lovely to see Captain Gopinath, assorted politicians and other richie rich ppl in  jayanagar chokin in pollution like the rest of bangalore.

By the way most ppl in Jaynagar and surrounding areas will not use the metro anyway as they have CARS. I am sure Capt Gopinath or his family members will ever travel in the metro.

Basically these ppl want the future metro commuter to pay for the extra cost in rerouting the metro so that thay can enjoy their evenin walks in sylvan surroundings. Sorry This is bangalore. We dont loke trees or people who like trees.

By the way if anyone goes go to the protest meet, please post some good images of the tree laned avenue so that our future generations can see how not to plan a city. comment guidelines

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