Friday, February 19, 2010

All loco, trees felled for Metro

All loco, trees felled for Metro

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Bengaluru was not always as green as it was in the Sixties when it came to be called the `Garden City'. Many of the city's trees were planted by the British in the late 1800s and the early 20th century, mostly for wood to power the steam locomotives that carried the imprint of the Raj across the length and breadth of the country.
Ironically, the same trees are now being axed to make way for a more mod- ern transit system -- Namma Metro.
At the National seminar `The Urban Growth of Bengaluru with reference to Bengaluru Cantonment (1809-2009)', writer Sashi Sivramkrishna pointed out that geographer Francis Buchanan had recorded in his book Buchanan's Journey that the city appeared barren and semi- arid in the early years of the 19th century.

Not long after Bucha- nan's voyage through south India to conduct a survey, trees were planted across stretches totalling 542 miles in the city. The trees, historians later noted, had been planted for their wood for domestic use and to power steam engines.
By the time wood-burning locomotives fell into dis- favour, the British had already planted enough trees to change the face of the city.


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