Tuesday, September 07, 2010

City loses its trees at high speed

City loses its trees at high speed
AMIT S. UPADHYE
DC | BENGALURU


Article Rank


: Minsk Square is a graveyard of trees. Twisted stumps stand where once an avenue of gulmohars, jacarandas and pink tabubia bloomed. MG Road is a construction site. Now, information obtained under RTI by green activists Hasiru Usiru finds the central part of Bengaluru and its enviable green canopy will see 371 fully mature trees chopped down and another 200 pruned! This is to pave the way for a controversial addition to the IT capital's transport system -a High Speed Rail Link that stretches 34 kms from BRV grounds near Chinnaswamy stadium through the Raj Bhavan Road to Hebbal lake, home to migratory birds, when it could as well start from beyond Hebbal. As if the damage Sept. 6: As if the damage caused by the massive felling of trees at Minsk Square for the Metro project was not enough, the proposed High Speed Rail Link, which will connect the city centre to Bengaluru International Airport is expected to bring down more than 500 fully grown trees in the next few years.
Apart from losing trees, there will be a huge impact on the environment in the central parts of Bengaluru.

The worst hit will be places like BRV Parade Grounds – the starting point of HSRL and Raj Bhavan Road, besides the historic Hebbal lake alongside which the high-speed lane will pass.

The information obtained by Hasiru Usiru, an NGO, after it filed an RTI on the felling of trees for the project, which was made available to Deccan Chronicle, says that 371 trees will have

to be uprooted completely while around 265 trees will have to be pruned.
“So why is the government bent on spoiling the aesthetic look of central Bengaluru,” ask green activists in the city, who say a strict no-no to the project.

Already, Minsk Square has lost its charm and there are little chances of the

famous boulevard on MG Road being restored to its original glory. "The 34-km long HSRL will be an addition to Namma Metro and the proposed suburban rail system. Do we really need three rail systems for Bengaluru"? ask the activists.
"The detailed project report(DPR) of Metro Rail says some 700 trees will have to be felled to get the project done. Not even 40 per cent of the total project is complete and already, close to 3,000 trees have vanished from the city’s map,” said Vinay Sreenivasa, a member of Hasiru Usiru.

According to him, the 324 page DPR, prepared for HSRL, shows that no prop

er Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) was done. "A project of this scale, has no mention about EIA and even an energy audit. If the train has to move at high speed, from where will the government get the required power?
Moreover, the train link will run next to the sensitive Hebbal Lake which is home to several species of birds," he said. Apart from losing trees, there will be a huge impact on the environment in the central parts of Bengaluru. The worst hit will be places like BRV Parade Grounds – the starting point of HSRL and Raj Bhavan Road besides the historic Hebbal lake.

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