Preserving Bangalore's Green cover/Open areas

Shri B.S. Yeddyurappa Chief Minister Karnataka 3 June 2009 Ref.: Use of land to be vacated by the Bangalore Turf Club Dear Shri Yeddyurappa, As concerned citizens of Bangalore, we are disturbed by a recent news report quoting you on the possible use of the piece of land in the centre of the city hitherto occupied by the Bangalore Turf Club. According to the report, you envisage the construction of an exceptionally tall skyscraper on the land scheduled to be vacated by the BTC at the end of this year. We wish to register our strong opposition to any such plan, which we believe will only exacerbate the many serious civic problems that have come to plague this city over the past decade. We are, in fact, surprised that you have proposed the construction of a 200-250 floor building in one of the few open spaces left in Bangalore, when just last month you had cited �pressure on traffic� as one of the reasons for the relocation of the race course (as recorded in newspaper reports on 15 May 2009). Traffic congestion is sure to be greatly intensified by any multi-storey construction on the land, let alone a building of over 200 floors. As you know, Bangalore�s population rose by over 60% between 1991 and 2001; the next census is bound to register equally rapid population growth. In contrast, lung space in Bangalore has not grown at all; if anything, it has shrunk with the gradual reduction of the Green Belt and the take-over of lakes and tanks, wetlands and grasslands, not to mention agricultural land, both within the city and in surrounding areas. People, political leaders and governments across the world are increasingly recognizing the importance of urban green space not only for quality of life but for the very sustainability of cities. Even congested cities like New York are finding creative ways to increase their green heritage. The preservation and expansion of green space will do more for Bangalore�s global image than any skyscraper, however tall. Against the norm of 10-16 Sq Mts per head of city population, Bangalore has only 2.82 in 2003, down from 5.32 in 1990. Even Delhi has managed to keep 6.32 Sq Mts of open space per capita (2003). Your endeavour should be to improve the already low figure of Bangalore, if not match the world norm. We urge you to consider the many options for the use of the soon-to-be-vacated land that will help improve access to lung space and quality of life in this city. We would be happy to participate in any initiative to ensure that the shifting of the race course will help restore the long-standing and enviable reputation of Bangalore as a garden city. Looking forward to a positive response, we remain, With kind regards, P S Appu IAS (Retd) Ram Guha Girish Karnad S G Vasudev Ammu Joseph Dr Obaid Siddiqi Shashi Deshpande Dr Madhav Gadgil Capt S Prabhala Zafar Futehally Major Promod Kapur (Retd)

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