Friday, May 21, 2010

Sorry, we have failed you

Sorry, we have failed you

Environmentalists and activists want govt to stay away from core Bangalore

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore



Suresh Kumar, minister for urban development, made a startling confession on Thursday. The government has failed in keeping Bangalore green. The minister said: "We are sorry. The government has failed to build infrastructure without stripping the city of its greenery. We did not plan well."
Suresh Kumar was speaking at the launch of Lalit Suri Green Initiative 2010, an effort to green Bangalore by planting 1.5 lakh saplings within a month.
The minister said places such as lake shores, educational and government institutions would be identified for planting these saplings. He also made a promise not to fell more trees while roads are being widened.
On the other hand, environmentalists and activists warned the government not to touch the core Bangalore.
Suresh Heblikar, founder, Eco Watch, said: "Do not touch core Bangalore in the name of development. There is no space left in the old city. It's time the government made fresh plans for new areas."
Heblikar said the government should take up landscaping only in layouts that are coming up. "The new mantra should be decentralisation. Let's develop cities such as Hubli, Dharwad and Gulbarga to ensure that Bangalore is not denuded further," Heblikar said.
AS Sadashiavaiah, chairman, the state pollution control board (KSPCB), urged the government to ensure ecological balance while planning new layouts. He said: "Civic agencies should contact KSPCB at the planning stage and not merely for solid waste and sewage management."
Sadashiavaiah pointed out that Mysore, with its wide roads and ample space for trees, should be the model for Bangalore. "Places such as Chickpet, Peenya, MG Road, Malleswaram and Market area should be left untouched. There is room neither for trees nor for development."
He said KSPCB would plant 1.5crore saplings across 48,000 industrial units in the state and out of this, 25 lakh saplings are expected to take root in Bangalore.
J Crasta, president, Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), suggested that Peenya, Whitefield, Bommasandra and Veerasandra would be ideal locations for the green initiative.
K Jaisim, well-known architect, said: "There is no need to fell trees to widen roads and construct flyovers. Lane discipline and scientifically designed roads will ease traffic jams."

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