Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Salvation possible if residents wake up and act

Salvation possible if residents wake up and act

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore

Old buildings give way to new structures. But when an old tree is cut, no new tree is planted. This is the stark truth in Sarvagnanagar constituency.
With eight civic wards, it is a mixture of grey and green. While some areas are devoid of noticeable lung spaces, others have a welcome green crown. Residents and conservationists point out that to earn the tag of 'developed' area, the constituency is paying a price in terms of greenery and water bodies.
While some new developing areas in the Bangalore east hold hope of a green revival, the more 'developed' areas are adversely hit, says SN Ramesh, secretary of Residents' Welfare Association of Bangalore East. He blames unbridled constructions for much denudation.
"Over 20% of green cover has already been lost in the past couple of years, thanks to frenzied construction and road widening. Those were once green fields," says Ramesh.
The worst affected areas are Lingarajapuram and Nagengalli. Parts of Sarvagnanagar and Jeevanahali too have liberal sprinkles of slums. In contrast, Cooke Town, Banaswadi and HBR Layout emerge well in green cover graph.
More than commercialisation or construction, says Ramesh, encroachments have eaten up much of water bodies and greenery. The constituency does not boast of a lake now. The famed Silver Lake, which was literally a silver lining for Bangalore east once, is lost for ever, thanks, again, to uncontrolled construction.
Rating the area a six, on a scale of one to ten, where one is the lowest and ten is the highest, he says there is still hope. "If rainwater harvesting is done, the problem of acute water shortage can be met. The green cover will also improve. Furthermore, the trees which remain should be protected."
Over the years, the New Byappanahalli Welfare Association has tried to raise the green cover despite the indifference of the BBMP, says its president Jose MS. Many petitions were shot off which evoked no response. Many sites reserved for civic amenities have been snapped up by various interests either for construction or for parking.
Jose gives a score of four to his areas. What he regrets most is the wanton ignorance or willfulness of BBMP workers who make bonfire of dead branches and leaves close to the stem and roots of adult trees which burn their bark and eventually kill them. "A decade ago, I planted 200 trees in the layout, but not more than 80 remain now," says he.
Between the last civic elections and the forthcoming one, a great many tree cover has been lost, regrets Jose. And the residents of Sarvagnagar will regret more if they fail to act now, he warns


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