Thursday, June 26, 2008

BBMP plan annoys tree lovers

BBMP plan annoys tree lovers

Staff Reporter

— Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

SPEAKING UP FOR TREES: Members of ‘Hasiru-Usiru’ protesting at Palace Road on Wednesday against cutting of trees to widen the road.

BANGALORE: It was quite a turnout on Palace Road for a busy weekday afternoon. Upon knowing that the tree-lined avenues of Palace Road have been dug up overnight and many trees are set to face the axe, environmentalists under the Hasiru Usiru network garnered support and put together an impromptu protest rally from Maharani’s College to Basaveshwara Circle.

Environmentalists and tree lovers rallied along the stretch of Palace Road with placards declaring their love for trees and urging authorities not to remove the tree cover.

Although no trees have been physically axed, the authorities had dug up all around the trees and walls in the area were marked to be demolished for road widening.

A survey of the stretch of road from Maharani’s College till the temple had 15 large trees slated to face the axe. There was no provision to create a by-lane or median as the plans attempted to retain the temple as it was.

Demolition work was being carried on even as the protesters rallied. Participants included businessmen and residents of Infantry Road who expect to face dramatic consequences when Infantry Road is widened.

The rally gained momentum as people from tea shops, vendors and small shops located along the road joined them.

Members of the Hasiru Usiru network complained that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike had not discussed this issue with them as was directed by the Karnataka High Court in 2005. “This amounts to contempt of court. Neither is it fair to us nor to the people who live and earn livelihoods of these pavements,” says Kanishka L., of Hasiru Usiru.
Activists snubbed

The group went to the BBMP office to speak to the commissioner S. Subramanya. Members of the group alleged that he refused to speak to the group, threatened to call the police if they continued to stay there and walked out.

“We had taken an appointment to meet him and only wanted to talk to him and ask why the tree-felling was being continued. We were from various groups such as hawkers, scientists and even autorickshaw drivers,” says Bhargavi Rao of the Environment Support Group.


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