Bengaluru: Defence Ministry Stakes Claim On Disputed Church Land Set To Be Part Of Metro Project

Bengaluru: Defence Ministry Stakes Claim On Disputed Church Land Set To Be Part Of Metro ProjectBengaluru Metro (Representative Image) (Jagdeesh MV/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The controversy surrounding the All Saints Church land, which the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) had proposed to temporary acquire for construction of an underground metro station, has taken a new turn with the Defence Estate Office (DEO) of the Defence Ministry claiming that the land belongs to them, reports The New Indian Express.

The DEO has also staked claim for the compensation for the land and has asked it to be paid to the Consolidated Fund of India.

According to the report, in a letter submitted on 5 July to the All Saints Church and BMRCL, the DEO (Karnataka Circle) said that the church land was part of defence land - Survey No. 275 of Civil and Military Station, Bengaluru - which was leased to the church authorities by the Quarter Master General (QMG) during 1865, 1884 and 1898.

The DEO also sent similar letters to the Central Diocese Karnataka and Church of South India Trust Association on 16 July and also to the Special Land Acquisition Officer-2, Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board, Metro Rail Project on 18 July.

“All these are old records and it was not known by many. Recently, a new DEO was appointed ... he was asked to recheck. It was then we realised that the church land was defence land,” Defence PRO Guruprasad said.

The church officials will be shown all the records during a meeting on Wednesday (7 August), added Guruprasad.

Meanwhile, the managing director of the BMRCL Ajay Seth said the KIADB land acquisition officer will take a call on the matter and then a decision will be taken.

Earlier, the BMRCL had proposed temporary acquisition of land on the All Saints Church premises for the construction of the Vellara junction underground metro station. However, the project faced protest from All Saints Church members as they alleged that the metro passing through their property will cut down 80 trees of which some are 100 years old.

However, BMRCL remained firm on its plan and said that the church land required for Vellara station has been identified and a permanent underground station box will be constructed by cut and cover method.