Green Minute News
Celebrating the Church’s 150th anniversary this year – the All Saints Church at Vellara Junction in Bengaluru is silently fighting to save it tranquility and green heritage from the city metro development activities. The unbroken and continuing protest by the congregation of the Church against metro rail construction in its surroundings has crossed the 300th day. Some trees are more than 100 years old and provide clean air in the high traffic zone and chaos of Vellara Junction.
The church ‘s congregation members say that they have requested the BMRCL to drop its plans of such a construction as it would destroy their Church as also the Sacred Grove comprising 180 trees. The Grove is a nesting place for more than 25 bird species including the rare Paradise Flycatcher.
According to the original DPR of Phase-2 of 2011, the metro alignment was to run underneath the Hosur Road from Langford Station to Vellara Junction Station. However the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd [BMRCL] revised the alignment and acquired Church property to an extent of 3618 square metres as permanent acquisition in 2017. Further, they will be acquiring another 1140 square metres as a temporary acquisition to carry out metro activity.
The construction activity will necessitate excavation up to a depth of 80 feet. In the process, if it encounters hard rock and needs blasting – it will be endangering the Church itself as it will be at a distance of 17 metres from the construction activity. Further no tests have been done to ascertain the structural strength of the Church by entrusting it to reputed engineers from Archaeological Survey of India.
The protestors say, “The 1140 square metres required by BMRCL has more than 50 trees and the Church has no vacant land for translocation of these precious trees. BMRCL claims no damage will occur in the course of the construction activity and cited the CTO building as an example.”
The All Saints Church is the only one of its kind religious structure built in the Indo-Sarcenic style by renowned architect Robert Chisholm in the year 1870. The Church’s foundation is made of lime and mortar and in all probability it may collapse because of the construction activity the members fear. They add, “The land holdings in possession are 231 linear metres and 9000 square metres in comparison with Ashram Metro Station at New Delhi with a length of only 151 metres. In fact they have more than enough land to build a marvelous station. So why are they squeezing us for more land?