Tuesday, March 02, 2010

BBMP axe threatens green canopy

BBMP axe threatens green canopy
G Manjusainath, Bangalore, Mar 1, DHNS:

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP)’s road-widening axe is about to strike down yet another piece of green history. The green canopy on Sankey Road—from Cauvery Theatre Circle to Bhashyam Circle at Malleswaram—that people used to enjoy is destined to be felled soon.

The nod for the road-widening project from the Cauvery Theatre to Yeshwanthapur had come five years ago. But now, the Palike wants the project to go ahead under its Vision-2015 programme.

Having already sanctioned Rs 25 crore and awarded the contracts, the project may start in a week.

Palike sources say the plan is to widen the road by 30 ft x 15 ft on both sides. That means most trees on the footpaths will face the axe.

Padmanabha, BBMP executive engineer in charge of road widening, confirmed that the Sankey Road project was on the Palike agenda. But a survey on how many trees will be felled hasn’t been done yet. BBMP tree officer Suresh said he hasn’t got the detailed project report. Nor has he been assigned the task of counting the trees that will be felled.

However, Sankey Road residents and environmentalists aren’t impressed. Malleswaram Residents’ Welfare Association member Chandrashekhar questioned the project’s rationale, since the road is already wide. “If at all they want to widen the road, they should do it from Bhashyam circle to Malleswaram 18th Cross,” he said.

Vijay Kumar, Sankey Park Walkers’ Association secretary, pointed out that the BBMP plan to plant saplings in five years has remained on paper.

As if the Metro Rail and road widening projects aren’t killing enough trees, a proposed war memorial inside the Indira Gandhi Fountain Park threatens to fell another 30 trees. Environmentalists say the project, to be implemented by the Bangalore Development Authority, lacks transparency.

The Karnataka Park Preservation Act, 1975, and Karnataka Parks, Playfields and Open Places Act, 1985, prohibit construction of buildings or structures that affect a park’s utillity. As it amounts to a change of land use, a public notification should be made under the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act 1961.


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