Saturday, April 25, 2009

Polls orphan 3,352 GKVK trees

Polls orphan 3,352 GKVK trees

Namma metro's depredations of lalbagh upstaged uas stir in election discourse

Vaishalli Chandra. Bangalore

People may welcome the IT development in Bangalore that has put the city on the global map. But residents of the Garden City have decided not to take the rampant felling of trees in the name of development, lightly.
A depleting green cover is causing heartburn among citizens and tree felling is a sore issue. Whether it is in Lalbagh or Gandhi Krishi Vignana Kendra (GKVK) campus, people have raised their voice against the government's insensitive take on development. Clearly, citizens aren't ready to pay such a heavy price in the name of development.
That's why at the beginning of April, agitated members – students, professors, scientists and researchers — from University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) held a protest against a BBMP plan to build a road through the GKVK campus.
At around the same time, the felling of Lalbagh trees to make way for Namma Metro caught the city's imagination, especially with independent candidates Captain GR Gopinath and Santosh Min and Congress nominee Krishna Byre Gowda pledging support to the fight to save the park.
However in the election din, the plight of GKVK campus took a back seat. While only 19 trees will get axed at Lalbagh, the GKVK will lose as many as 3,352 trees if the proposed 100 feet road is constructed within the campus to connect Attur Yelhanka road to Bellary road (National Highway 7).
"These 3,352 trees are of immense value, be it in terms of timber, medicine, fodder, firewood as well as bio-diversity," said Dr Nuthan, Associate Director, research, UAS.
Interestingly, Byre Gowda, Congress candidate from Bangalore South, is a sitting MLA from Bytarayanapura. While Byre Gowda responded favourably to the cause of Lalbagh, some have questioned his silence on the GKVK issue, which falls within his assembly jurisdiction.
Dr Nuthan said, "I had personally gone and met Byre Gowda and apprised him of the issue." He was hopeful that the GKVK cause will be taken up after the election.
"I met him two days before he filed his nomination from Bangalore South," informed Dr Nuthan. He said Byre Gowda had promised to look into the matter, but then 'understandably' got busy with elections.
For now, as the work continues the campus authorities are waiting for the election fever, that has gripped the city, to subside. They aren't worried about Lalbagh hogging the limelight.
Speaking to DNA, Dr PG Chengappa, Vice-Chancellor (VC), UAS, said, "Here at GKVK, it is not just the number of trees. We are concerned about the bio-diversity that would be affected as most plants and trees are used as plant genetic resource. For instance, there are about 80 varieties of mango trees being maintained at the campus. These are used for several research purposes. If those trees are lost, it would directly impact research work."


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