Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bangalore has seen itself turn into a ‘barren’ and dusty capital

Bangalore has seen itself turn into a ‘barren’ and dusty capital
Dwindling green cover, price for development
Anoo Bhuyan, Bangalore, May 14, DH News Service :

Once known for its green canopy and the salubrious climate, Bangalore over the past two years has seen itself turn into a ‘barren’ and dusty capital of the State.

Reason: The hectic development projects that have overshadowed the City for the past 24 months.

And no better example to provide than the one kilometre stretch on Jayamahal Road near Munireddypalya which is all set to lose as many as 41 trees for a proposed road widening project. The road from Mekhri Circle to the Doordarshan TV Tower is perhaps the only solace for the motorists to take cover under the heat that rages during the day.
Ask the residents, mostly Defence personnel, who say the tree cover plays a vital role in protecting their lives. From fruit bearing mango trees to the more expensive of the mahagony (teakwood variety) specimen, the 40 trees provide the much-needed extensive green cover and relief from the heat.

Road widening

Adjoining the stretch where the proposed road widening is to take place are the residences of the defence officers who seem to be quite attached to their abode.
“Houses on this road are from the colonial era. The structures are already weak and the proposed construction work could harm the buildiungs further,” said Mridula Thapa, wife of a defence personnel.

The BBMP Forest Department officials claim that of the 40 trees that have been identified for felling by the Major Roads Department, but permiss is yet to be granted. However, nearly 15 trees are reportedly dead at their roots and are likely to die a natural death.
The officials also criticised the contractors for being careless during their work and damaging the few healthy trees on the street.

“They (contractors) have been quite negligent in carrying out work to make temporary arrangements for movement of traffic in the area. They have damaged the stump of well grown mahagony trees that are quite valuable,” said the official.

According to the official, the BBMP is currently laying a service road as a temporary arrangement till there is clearance from the High Court for the road widening project.
With the road widening projects across the City under the Rs 22,000 crore mega plan being fought in the High Court, the fate of these 40 majestic trees hang in balance. The Palike anxiously awaits this decision to carry on its ambitious plan of widening the roads. So where is the solution to check the unprecedented felling of trees for development?

Not a solution

Dasrathi, an environmental activist who has studied the traffic problem states that no amount of road widening has helped the City in reducing the traffic chaos. From Sankey Road to Hosur Road beyond the Silk Board, the widened stretch has not solved the problem. “There are two options which can be explored - a series of co-ordinated signals or a series of underpasses which do not need unnecessary destruction of trees,” he said.
But the tryst with the above two have not succeeded either, if one visits the Maharani underpass or the Cauvery Circle underpass. Perhaps, it is time for better and more futuristic ideas which can serve as the only saviour for the depleting tree cover in the City.


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