Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Road will grow wider only by gobbling up 40,000 trees

Road will grow wider only by gobbling up 40,000 trees

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore

Bangalore is likely to have hotter summers in the coming years, what with the city likely to lose over 30,000 trees for infrastructure purposes. The tag of being the Garden City will become a thing of the past if the government goes ahead with its plan to widen 93 roads here.
Bangalore has already lost hundreds of trees for the Metro and signal-free corridors. Another 30,000-40,000 trees would make way for the several infrastructure works planned, said the co-ordinator of the Environment Support Group, Leo Saldanha, adding that the number was derived after a detailed study over a two-year period on roads proposed for widening.
Timber mafia and corruption in civic agencies were believed to be the main causes for the unnecessary felling of trees in the city, with Race Course Road being victim of such an act. Major parks, including Lalbagh, Cubbon Park and Laxman Rao park will be the worst affected by the Metro construction.
Saldanha said that at least 3,000 trees were already lost on Sheshadri Road, Sarjapur Road, Hosur Road, St John's medical college, Mysore Road and Kanakpura Road in the last two years, and that the green cover along Sheshadri Road, Mysore Road and Hosur Road would be the worst affected.
According to the survey conducted, Saldanha said that the Metro work alone would eat up at least 3,000 trees, without any trees being planted to compensate this loss, and that at least 100 trees would be lost for every running kilometre of road length. Over 200 trees were expected to face the axe on Mysore Road alone, from Sirsi Circle flyover towards Golapan mall, to widen the road, while about 48 more trees would be cut for the construction of the underpass at Tagore Circle, where five were already lost.
Environmentalists pointed out that 200 canopy trees would be lost along Sankey Road for widening of the stretch from Vidhana Soudha to Yeshwantpur. The flyover construction near Deve Gowda petrol bunk on Banashankari Ring Road would gobble up 150 trees at least, and 200 more would go for the widening of Raj Kumar Road and the signal-free corridor in Rajajinagar, from Yeshwantpur to Okalipuram.
The controversial war memorial at the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain park would also cost the city five trees.
Vinay Sreenivas of Hasiru Usiru pointed out that road widening was no long-term solution as the problem of space constraint would return after five years. "Cubbon Park alone would lose 200 trees for the Metro. Interestingly, most projects proposed for 2005 are yet to begin," he said. Tree expert R Sheshadri added that most trees identified for felling for road widening purposes were rain trees


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