The secretary reminded that the church has already given 3681 square meter of land two years ago, which is not being talked about.
All Saints’ Church administration is protesting the land acquisition by Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) for the construction of station entrance box.
On Sunday, around hundred people gathered in the church to protest against the decision of BMRCL. Several citizens’ group have started an online petition to the Chief Minister Basvaraj Bommai.
Channappa Gaudar, land acquisition manager of BMRCL said, “The acquisition is in the public interest. We will acquire 880 square meter of land for construction. Out of which 250 odd square meter of the land will have the structure, and the rest 630 square meter will be returned to the church after construction.”
Ronald Farnandez, secretary of All Saint’s Church and organiser of the protest said, “We are not against development. We already gave 3681 square meter land two years ago. But now they are asking for land within the church premises which will affect the natural habitat as well as the buildings which are 152 years old. We have more than hundred species of trees and more than twenty five species of birds.”
Ebenezer Prem Kumar, a congregation member said that earlier the plan was to construct the station box on the other side of the road but suddenly they informed us that they are going to construct it on church premises. The building stands a risk due to construction. There have been some damages already.
The congregation members are concerned about the damage to the natural habitat as the church shelters different species of birds andsome very rare species of plants.
Gaudar said that they will not cut any tree but will translocate around twenty trees.
Earlier, BMRCL was to acquire 236 square meter of the church land but after the church resisted, they offered to reduce the acquisition to 170 meters. However, the church doesn’t want to give away the land within the church premises.
Fernandez said,”We have an old age home and shelter for mentally challenged children. The day to day activities of the church will be hampered due to the acquisition.”
Alan Godfrey, head and assistant professor, School of Social Work, St. Joseph’s College, Bengaluru, said, “The church has already given enough land to BMRCL for construction. The church stands there for more than 150 years. Constructing station entrance box by destroying natural habitat doesn’t make any sense.”
Yellappa Reddy, environmentalist said that a tree has its roots spread in about 30–50 meters under the surface, and translocation harms the health of the trees. The church has a variety of rare trees which shouldn’t be harmed. The church also takes care of birds including peacock. The habitat of the church shouldn’t be disturbed.