A Writ Petition (W.P) 605/2021 was filed before the Hon’ble Karnataka High Court at Bengaluru.
On 13th January 2021, the Hon’ble High Court issued Notices to all four respondents namely the KRDCL, State of Karnataka, Karnataka Forest Department and MoEF&CC.
The main issues raised in the PIL:
- The project is a “new State Highway project” categorised under item 7 (f) of the EIA Notification, 2006 and is located within 5 kms from critically polluted areas of Jigani and Bamasandra industrial estate, within 5 kms from the State borders of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and within 5 kms from notified ESZ and boundary of the Bannerghatta National Park, thus an Environment Clearance is required from the MoEF.
- A Stretch of the project is planned through the ESZ and cuts across the core area of the Bannerghatta National Park for which Forest and Wildlife Clearance from the MoEF.
- The project does not satisfy the definition of “Sustainable Development” and also not in line with India’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2031
- Non-disclosure of project related information amounts to infringement of Fundamental Right to Information.
- On 13th January 2021, the Hon’ble High Court issued Notices to all four respondents namely the KRDCL, State of Karnataka, Karnataka Forest Department and MoEF&CC & posted the matter for hearing on Feb 24th.
- Subsequently, on Feb 24th, the respondent for KRDCL requested for time & the matter was posted to March 30th
- On March 25th, Petitioner No 3 Rajani Santosh filed an affidavit to present before the court that work is being undertaken by KRDCL since the last date of hearing i.e 24th Feb 2021 in the ecologically sensitive zone of the Bannerghatta National Park alongside the Tiger Corridor. This includes tree-felling, hill cutting, filling up of lands for a bypass road at Krishnadoddi, encroachment of a stream by the KRDCL road by Construction of a new bridge between Uraganadoddi to Krishnadoddi and the maps of Tiger Corridor abutting the road being widened) Read here
- On March 30th, the Hon’ble High Court considered the affidavit so filed and directed the KRDCL to file their response to the main PIL and the affidavit within a week’s time i.e. 7th April 2021.
- On April 7th, the Hon’ble High Court took cognizance of the response filed by respondent No 1, KRDCL on the above affidavit. According to KRDCL, there were no trees in the stretch but also mention that the trees seen to be felled are not felled by them. Thus, the high court has directed the state government to conduct an enquiry to find out the real culprit.
On other issues, the court deemed it fit to hear the main PIL on merits and hence has posted the case for final hearing on 7th June 2021.
- On June 7th The state government failed to submit it’s inquiry report and sought additional time. However the state government in an oral submission that tree felling has taken place on the side of KRDCL road alignment within the BNP buffer limits. The court granted time of two weeks and orally observed that compensatory afforestation has to be carried out in the ratio 1:5 either by KRDCL or by the state government. On 22nd June the onus for compensatory afforestation will be divided based on enquiry report of the state government.
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