Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The axe effect

The axe effect
By: Lavanya Srinivasan
Date: 2008-10-27


The felling game has begun. BBMP and BWSSB are on a tree-felling spree to widen roads and lay pipelines. This time, it is the stretch between BDA junction and Cauvery Theatre junction on the road to the new airport.

BWSSB dug deep trenches next to the trees to lay a pipeline on this stretch. The trees started titling dangerously towards the ground and even vanished after a couple of days. Most of the trees were 50-60 years old.

The kill-tree operation is on in full swing. BWSSB has gone ahead and started digging along the entire stretch. It is only a matter of days before the trees on the whole stretch will either be cut off or will fall on their own. Almost 30-40 trees have been cut in the stretch so far.

"The damage is already done. But, everything is not lost. Can we make BWSSB stop digging? There's so much traffic around and there is no option left other than to chop these trees. But if they are planning to re-plant it somewhere, that would be better," says Yellappa Reddy, environmentalist.

While BBMP stresses on preventive measures, experts say that there is more to this issue. S G Neginhal, environmentalist, says authorities add to the problem by pruning trees unscientifically.

"To create more road space, I have seen several trees that are cut unevenly. This makes it heavier on one side and it will fall," he explains.

Vehicle population

"There are over 14 lakh families with over 40 lakh vehicles. The BBMP has initiated road-widening works in 85 roads and broadening exercise of 10 more is underway. Trees which are planted on either side of the roads will be transplanted in various public and private places, for which the support and cooperation of people, NGOs and other organisations is essential," said Vasanth, tree officer, BBMP.

However, Shekhar, tree officer, BBMP, maintains that they had no options and had to go ahead with the felling. "This place will see a lot of traffic and we had to do it," he said.

With environmentalists working hard on keeping the city green, BBMP has felled 317 trees in the last three months.


When asked whether they would replant the trees elsewhere, he said, "Yes we will be replanting the saplings once all the work is done."

This apart, BBMP, along with NGOs, is taking up a survey of dangerous trees and branches on all major roads.

The survey report will be prepared in two days and action initiated based on it. Experts say that the adult trees serve as a precious balancing factor in the already emaciated urban ecology system. But would Palike care about this?


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