Monday, April 24, 2006

BMP flouts norms on greening of Bangalore

BMP flouts norms on greening of Bangalore
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Following the alarming decline in the flora and fauna in urban areas, the Ministry of Urban Development has formulated 23 guidelines for greening of urban areas and landscapes, which have been sent to all government offices across the country.

These include the saving of the green cover, maintaining water bodies and fauna in cities.

Sadly, in Bangalore, few have followed these guidelines. Once known as the Garden City, today, Bangalore’s green cover is rapidly disappearing.

Footpaths are being cemented leaving no space for the rain water to percolate to the roots or help in recharge of the groundwater.

Young trees’ roots are cemented stunting their growth. Lakes are also being encroached upon. ‘‘Most of the guidelines were never followed by any civic authority in Bangalore including the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP),’’ says Rohan D’Souza, a member of Hasiru Usiru, an eco organisation in City.

‘‘Given the fact that some amount of building and maintenance work will need to be done in cities and towns on roads and surrounding areas, there are clear guidelines in the document formulated by the Urban Ministry which directs how these need to be done, so that the environment is protected.

But unfortunately, the BMP does not follow these guidelines,’’ he said. ‘‘In fact, in some cases, they blatantly violate the guidelines, which has caused a lot of damage to the greenery and led to the weakening of trees which fall during strong winds and rain,’’ he added.

Some examples of the violations of the guidelines include Guideline 1, no 6 and no 7. ‘‘According to Guideline 1, unnecessary and excessive tiling of pavements should be avoided. The area around trees should not be covered with tiling. But as anyone can see in Bangalore, the BMP has been tiling and of late concretising the pavements right up to the base of most trees.

Guideline 6 says adequate space must be left around trees. An area of 6’’ X 6’’ should be left uncemented around a tree. This is also something that is being blatantly violated in most cases,’’ D’Souza blamed.

‘‘Guideline 7 says digging near trees should be avoided. This also is being blatantly violated all across the city where digging is happening close to the trees for road widening and laying of cables, repair of water pipes and electricity cables,’’ he added.

There are other guidelines also which point to maintaining water bodies and water table levels through proper care of water fronts as well as encouragement of water harvesting technologies, neither of which are being given adequate importance.

Hasiru Usiru has brought these guidelines to the notice of the Tree Officer in the BMP, in the hope that they will be observed in the future.


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