Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Bangalore has no space for trees, water

Bangalore has no space for trees, water

Y Maheswara ReddyFirst Published : 04 May 2010 05:23:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 04 May 2010 08:50:55 AM IST
BANGALORE: Planting trees comes easy to politicians. It is symbolic, harmless, and generally considered a good thing to do. Bangalore, of late, has seen a spurt in the announcements that desire to make the city “greener”.
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa plans to get 5 lakh saplings planted in and around the city, and the one of the first things Bangalores’s new Mayor S K Nataraj did was plant a sapling inside the BBMP premises and declare his “Green Agenda”.
The problem, experts say, with these plans is that Bangalore just does not have enough space for new trees.
M R Suresh, Assistant Conservator of Forests, BBMP, says most of the roads in Bangalore are not suitable to plant saplings. “The roads are already congested. Where is the space for planting saplings?’’ Suresh blames the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) for the decay of trees. “While BESCOM employees go on pruning trees indiscriminately, BWSSB employees cut the roots of trees while digging the road. Trees lose strength when roots are cut, balance when branches are pruned.” This is one reason uprooting of trees during the rainy season has become common in the city.
Other factors, says Suresh, are the concretisation of drains, which prevents rainwater from reaching the roots and widening of footpaths, during which contractors don’t leave enough space around the tree stem to enable water reach its roots.
Since most of the roads are not suitable to grow strong trees such as Mahagani, Sampige, Rain tree and those of the ficus species, spaling drives often result in planting of flowering trees and soft wood trees.
Sources say the BBMP has no manpower to identify and remove weak trees. “Majority of trees in Bangalore are at least 25 to 30 years old,” said Suresh.
Ridiculing the plans of Yeddyurappa and Nataraj to plant five lakh saplings in Bangalore, former mayor P R Ramesh has challenged them to plant 50,000 saplings in Bangalore. “The need of the hour is to protect the existing trees.
There should be an urban forestry maintenance cell to take care of trees,” said Ramesh.

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