Monday, April 27, 2009

City to hug, save trees

City to hug, save trees

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Tree lovers planto do a ‘chipko’ in the city by hugging trees to prevent them from being chopped for the Metro project.
After a series of protests and online campaigns failed to have the desired impact, green activists are considering desperate measures to make Bengalureans sit up and take notice.

On Sunday, women and even children took to the streets to save the canopied road, one of the few green stretches in the city. Women stopped speeding vehicles and distributed pamphlets to people on the importance of saving the green cover.

“We are not against the Metro Rail as we want a mass public transport system. But that should not be at the cost of parks and the green cover,” said Chandra, a teacher who joined the movement to protect the green patch.

The activists are stressing on an underground route for the Metro or a realignment which is convenient and will not affect the green cover.

“We will hug the trees if the need arises and will not let the work continue at any cost. We cannot afford to lose our heritage and greenery as these are necessary for the city. Bengaluru is already left with very little green cover now,” said Chandra. Instead of taking Nanda Road and RV Road, Metro officials can just take KR Road. It is a straight road and will also not affect the green cover, they say.

Hasiru Usiru, a network of concerned individuals and members of several Resident Welfare Associations, but now these women have taken the movement to a different dimension and are keen on carrying on the movement on a daily basis.

“Why should we sacrifice our 600-year-old heritage to the whims and fancies of politicians or bureaucrats,” asked Dharma Somashekar, an activist.

The activists intend to spread the word around and gather near Lakshman Rao Park on Nanda Road on a daily basis. The common concern is that children will lose the few parks remaining in the city.

“We keep complaining that children only watch TV.

But they are not to be blamed as parks are being wiped out and they are left only with a concrete city,” said a concerned mother.

But all of them were of the unanimous opinion that the Metro Rail is a must and work should continue as long as it doesn’t damage the city’s green cover.

Mahalakshmi Layout MLA Narendra Babu said based on the feedback from Hasiru Usiru, he had expected a bill to be tabled during the special Assembly session in Belgaum, which amended the Karnataka Open Spaces and Parks Act to pave way for the Metro to take over a portion of Lalbagh. The amendment will also clear the way for similar take overs in Cubbon Park. He said it is shocking that the government went ahead and changed the Act without consulting the Assembly. He called the process as state terrorism, adding that he would like to see BMRCL to explore all alternatives to save Lalbagh and Nanda Road.


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