Thursday, May 24, 2007

Underpass to overrun tree cover

Underpass to overrun tree cover


BANGALORE : The Tagore underpass, the construction of which was inaugurated with fanfare a fortnight ago, has not gone down well with the residents of Basavangudi. The possibility of losing a large chunk of green cover around the Tagore circle has annoyed residents. Meanwhile, differing figures by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) have only added to the confusion.

Residents are annoyed about being side-stepped. Arun Padaki, resident of Basavangudi, says, "We havent been told anything about the loss of trees. Only after we approached the officials did we get the number; and the number of trees we are set to lose is huge. This effectively means loss of public space. Most of us are completely unaware of this development." Ambiguity ruled the roost as BBMP officials gave contradictory figures regarding the proposed reduction of trees. While the tree officer pegs the number of trees to be cut to 119, the chief engineer states it to be somewhere around 80. Krishna Udupidi, tree officer, BBMP, says, "The engineers are still marking the trees. Initial reports put the numbers to 119. After I receive the reports, I will have to go for a through inspection following which I will give a confirmed number." Gopalaswamy, chief engineer says, "We are still marking the alignment for the grade separator. We have put the number of trees to around 7080. The numbers will be finalised in a couple of days." M Venkatesh, a resident and volunteer of Hasiru Usiru says, "I personally feel an underpass is unnecessary considering the quantum of traffic in this area. The BBMP is constantly cutting down trees all over Bangalore to accomodate traffic, which I think will only increase in future. This is a shopping area, which witnesses a big crowd on a daily basis. The underpass will only increase traffic flow, resulting in more chaos." The residents are planning to mobilise awareness of this issue as well as the problem of cutting down so many trees.


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