BENGALURU: Bowing to public pressure and agitation by many Resident Welfare Associations, BBMP forest officials assured the residents that no more trees will be axed for the signal-free corridor project on Old Airport Road. For the last one month, Vinayaknagara and KR Garden Residents’ Welfare Associations and eight other RWAs have been agitating to save more than 100 trees that were marked for felling on this road. Launching a human chain agitation and submitting an objection letter to the BBMP tree officer, the RWAs had questioned the need to cut so many trees for this project.
The BBMP forest officials clarified that permission had been given to axe 46 trees (which were chopped at ISRO Junction last month) and seven trees were slotted to be transplanted. The 60 trees marked on HAL junction were not on the felling list.Arvind, member, Vinayaknagara Residents’ Welfare Association told Express, “This is a victory for people and it shows how public should not keep quiet and question the authorities on taking up such anti-people and ecologically harmful projects. However, we have to be vigilant and see to it that no tree is felled. Further, we have told the BBMP we will mark the trees on the road so that not a single tree is lost.”
Tree Committee member Vijay Nishant added, “It is high time officials come out with project details and also answer public queries and call for objections. The tree cover here is very important with massive canopies and girth and one cannot afford to lose this in such a high traffic zone. Such a massive tree cover brings down temperature by 2-3 degrees in an area that has heat islands.”
Meanwhile, residents and environment experts question the BBMP engineers’ way of dividing a single project on a stretch of 1.5 kilometres into three different blocks so as to escape the clause of calling for public objections for felling more than 50 trees under the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act.
“This is not just limited to the Old Airport Road but also to other projects on Inner Ring Road, Jayamahal Road and several other stretches where BBMP engineers cleverly divided a single infrastructure project into three or four blocks and felled 45-49 trees without the need for public hearing,” they added.