Friday, May 29, 2009

ISc staff, students protest tree felling

ISc staff, students protest tree felling
Bangalore, DH News Service:
Friday, May 29, 2009, 1:30 [IST]

Even as the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) students and teachers on Thursday staged a demonstration against tree felling at the CNR Rao Circle, it became clear that the permission to cut the trees was given on April 10, much before objections were called for.

The permission was reportedly granted by the BBMP Assistant Conservator of Forest on April 10, more than a month before advertisements appeared on May 15 calling for objections from the public.

Among the 100 plus demonstrators at the CNR Rao Circle was Prof Atul Choksi from the IISc, who enthusiastically took part in the protest on his wheelchair. He said, “Felling of trees must be the last option when development work is taken up. But here trees are being felled with no strategic plan. BBMP should make an effort to retain the greenery.”
Shouting slogans against the Palike, many IISc students voiced their support to save tree campaign. Daniel, a student from IISc said, "It is very upsetting to see such carelessness. They have taken the decision all by themselves without consulting the public as to the underpass is really required.”

Krishnappa, Garden Head at IISc, said the trees marked to be chopped were more than 50 years old. “Trees are like lifeline to human beings, we need to respect them for our good. Careful execution of tree transplant can be carried out to save these huge old trees,” he said.

Disaster in waiting

Another professor from IISc, S Mahadev said it was a disaster waiting to happen. “I cannot imagine this place without greenery, BBMP should come up with a plan to retain the trees and build a plan around it. Motorists will prefer standing below a tree at traffic signal than having a signal free road.”

Among the protesters were also faculty members from National Institute of Advanced Studies. One of them, Prof A R Vasavi said, “Alternate options need to be explored and objections filed must be considered.”

However, the BBMP is continuing with the underpass plan. Engineering Department's Chief Engineer A K Gopalaswamy said the plan for the underpass was like ‘indirect saving’ by having a signal free traffic flow.

He said, “The amount of petrol burnt at signals can be saved by allowing free flow of traffic at this junction.” He said the Palike had received objections from the public and will work on their suggestions.


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