Monday, May 24, 2010

City tree wardens pushed into woods

City tree wardens pushed into woods
Bengaluru


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Where have our tree wardens gone? Lack of a civic movement as well as support from the government on tree preservation has forced many tree wardens to take the backstage.
A few years ago, BBMP had appointed several tree wardens and also set up ward committees giving special emphasis on retaining the green cover in every ward. But the initiative lost steam after tree felling stopped for a while. Several protests and awareness programmes were conducted for a short while before the city started losing its trees on every stretch.

"While most people enjoy the benefits of a tree in the neighbourhood, no one supported me when I stood up for a tree which was being axed. BBMP's tree warden move was just an eye-wash as not even one person has been booked for illegal tree felling," says a naturalist from the city.

Tree lovers were jubilant when BBMP constituted Biodiversity Management Committee under the chairmanship of A.N. Yellapa Reddy two years ago so that the green cover is retained in the city. But the government did not give any powers either to the committee or to the chairman, restricting the committee's efforts to meetings and visits to road widening and Metro Rail construction sites.

Interestingly, tree activists point out that even though Metro Rail authorities have started digging for the underground stretch near Vidhana Soudha, several trees can be saved. "Several trees are listed for felling just to make space for utilities required for the Metro work. Only another `Chipko Movement' can save the remaining city trees," the naturalist added.

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