Friday, January 30, 2009

Plan to green city graveyards may be buried

Plan to green city graveyards may be buried

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore
Most people in Bangalore would like their final resting place to be an islet of peace surrounded by birds, flowers, tall trees and an open sky.
Conservation groups are ready to fulfil this wish by greening the graveyards but no help is coming from the state or local governments.
As the city's greenery continued to shrink in the name of development, urban forest officials came up with an idea to give more lung space to graveyards two years ago. Their plan was to translocate trees, which are facing the axe due to development projects, to graveyards. Though environmentalists welcomed the plan, the government did nothing.
A senior forest department official, who did not want to be identified, said the idea was shelved due to lack of support from the government and the department concerned. The plan was then referred to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike's (BBMP) forest cell. Still there was no response.
As officials continued to ignore the plan, Bangalore lost 34 sq km of green cover from 2003 till date. About 40% of the city's trees were lost in the past few months due to road widening works. Nature lovers fear that the proposal may be unceremoniously buried.
But BBMP forest cell's deputy conservator of forests U Bert said, "We have not received any written proposal. Our initiative is to green Bangalore. If people want us to green graveyards too, we will do,'' he said.
Environmentalists say that the idea must have been shelved due to religious reasons. But religious leaders disagreed. MB Krishna, a green campaigner, said " Trees must be planted in large graveyards or in exteriors. Using graveyards for greening is a good idea.''


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