Friday, April 02, 2010

As Metro work runs steadily, trees are cut stealthily

As Metro work runs steadily, trees are cut stealthily

Sunitha Rao R. Bangalore

Nanda Theatre Road was once called the 'air-conditioned stretch' of Bangalore. Now it wears a deserted and denuded look thanks to Namma Metro work.
In place of the green canopy the stretch was so famous for now stand bare limbs of trees. The assault did not end there. Lakshman Rao Park stretching on either side of this road seems to have become the Metro's dumping yard. With construction material piled up there, the park now draws less number of visitors.
As a portion of Nanda Road is blocked due to Metro work, traffic has been directed to 36th Cross of Jayanagar and Diagonal Road which run parallel to Nanda Road.
Speaking to DNA, YK Muddukrishna, president of Samanwaya Vedike, residents' welfare association of Jayanagar 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th blocks, says that while Metro work is running steadily, its personnel are stealthily cutting the trees.
"The area is turning into a bazaar with shops and complexes coming up. Investors feel areas around metro stations will become big commercial hubs. These changes have spoiled the beauty of Nanda Road," says Muddukrishna.
"BMRCL is only supposed to prune the trees, not cut them. But on Nanda Theatre Road, there are many trees which have been cut unnecessarily. They were not at all coming in the way of Metro track. What pains me most is that nobody is bothered about what is happening," he adds.
Residents are upset by the entry of heavy vehicles on service roads.
"When metro work is going on, why are heavy vehicles allowed on service roads? The traffic was never like this before, which is making Nanda Road unsafe for pedestrians, especially old people who come out for walks during mornings and evenings," says Muddukrishna.
According to residents, the service roads get congested with vehicles coming from BTM Layout, JP Nagar, Sarakki, and Puttenahalli moving towards central business district of the city.
A Metro official, requesting anonymity, says the service roads are in good condition.
"The service roads have been asphalted by us and they are in good condition. Two metro stations will be coming up on Nanda Theatre Road. The work will take one more year on this stretch," says he.
Residents of Basavanagudi, Jayanagar, and JP Nagar, who are staying in the neighbourhood of Nanda Road, had rallied against Metro to save the green canopy which they view as the natural heritage of the stretch.
"Metro should have taken diversion without affecting the ambience and tranquillity of the stretch," says Ganesh GN, who lives on Diagonal Road. "Construction work extends to wee hours. This disturbs our sleep," says Lakshmi Sundararajan, a resident.
"After filing an RTI, we came to know that about 323 trees will be cut for Metro work on the Nanda Road-RV Road stretch. But now it seems no tree will be spared. Public were never consulted while planning the route. This is unfair. Experts had even proposed alternative routes," says Raghunadan Hegde, a member of Hasiru Usiru, an NGO working to save the city's green cover.


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