Monday, May 21, 2007

Road widening: a nail in trees’ coffin

Road widening: a nail in trees’ coffin
Monday May 21 2007 00:00 IST

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BANGALORE: The proposal of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to widen four major roads - Seshadri Road, Kasturba Road, Palace Road and Race Course Road, in the city has ruffled many nature lovers. Despite the promises of the Palike of saving as much greenery as possible, the rail and road developments are going to claim many magnificent trees along the earmarked routes.

Scores of large, flowering adult trees are marked for axing or for transplantation. The green lovers say that even if compensatory planting is undertaken, the city’s lungs are going to be choked for the nonce.

Speaking to this website's newspaper, the BBMP deputy conservator of forests Krishna Udupudi, said that 110 juvenile trees will be shifted to other venues and four important tree species are being retained.

“Around 52 trees on Race Course Road and two on Kasturba Road are to be felled, but they will be critically examined before cutting. Trees on Seshadri Road and Palace Road will be used as medians,” he said.

He said that a revised design of road development was getting ready which, he claimed, would save some 60 per cent of the marked trees.

But environmentalists say that these trees have stood the test of time and provided lungs to the city all along. They could be used as medians rather than cutting and carting them off. If the Palike wants, it could be done.

The Eco-Watch chairman Suresh Heblikar says that there is no need to widen roads at the cost of greenery. “Trees are an essential part of the ecosystem and they should be preserved. Roads should be designed in such a way that the trees are saved,” he said.

Bangalore Urban DCF A M Annaiah told this paper that rare trees belonging to the genetically superior species and are young could be transplanted or made to serve as medians. “Replanting trees to new places is not economically feasible. It costs lakhs of rupees and requires thorough supervision. It takes months for trees to strengthen their roots,” he said.

“Old trees when used as medians help reduce noise pollution and provide adequate shade,” Annaiah said.

Vijay Kumar Misra, a member of Hasiru Usiru also said that the trees should not be felled, but should be used as medians. “Further, many of the roads really need no widening as they are one-way,” he said.

DIG Head Quarters (former DCP Traffic, East) M A Saleem said that road widening was essential since the vehicle population was increasing leaps and bounds.

“Every year some 3.5 lakh new vehicles come on the road. Widening of existing roads will reduce the increasing traffic congestion. The trees should not be felled, they should be used as medians,” he said.


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