BENGALURU: With BBMP officials busy in election duty, tree felling and chopping of various tree species continues unabated in different parts of the city. In the last few days, many mature trees aged between 30-40 have been chopped either for better visibility of public hoardings or to give more space for construction activities.
Further, activists report felling of about 30-35 trees near the RR Nagar Metro site office opposite Gopalan Arcade in Mysore Road. Many mature and young species comprising of Pongamia, Jatropa, copper pod, Peepul, Ficus have been felled in the last two weeks sans any notice or permission.
8 trees chopped for hoarding
Meanwhile, a big public hoarding has been brought down by BBMP authorities in Mahadevpura Road and FIR has been lodged on the issue of chopping of 8 trees. However, the culprits are yet to be traced. This matter will be brought before the Lokayukta in the next hearing, authorities say.
A few days back, eight trees were chopped off for better visibility of a public hoarding in Mahadevpura Main Road. They comprised five Tabebuia rosea, two Thespesia populinea and one Pongamia species. This is the third such incident in Mahadevapura area and advertising agencies have been indiscriminately chopping or poisoning trees for better visibility of their hoardings. Last year, 30 trees were chopped off and poisoned on Marathahalli Main Road by ad agencies. As per the Lokayukta directions which is hearing the Marathahalli poisoning and chopping case, BBMP forest cell should take immediate action by bringing down the hoardings and further, cancel the license granted to advertising agencies that destroy or cause any damage to trees.
Protest in RR Nagar
In R R Nagar, a 30-year-old Copper pod tree was chopped off illegally by some people without any permission. Disheartened by the destruction, agitated residents voiced their protest, "Hug Me, 30 years I have been. Help me re-grow. Here silently cleaning your environment....Speak up for me …. be my voice."
An old-time resident of Ideal Township, RR Nagar Somshekar, told TNIE that once this verdant area bound by hillocks and green cover was a haven, but with continuous tree felling either for Metro project or by Bescom authorities or influential residents, the locality is no longer the same. “Our voice is not heard by anyone against such incidents and since elections were announced, it has become a free for all situation. Yesterday, Bescom came and chopped off many trees on the left side of Shakthi Hill resorts in such a way that some trees are likely to die in the coming days.”
Meanwhile, the RR Nagar resident welfare association, which is fighting to save the brutally chopped-off tree, elicited the help of High Court and appointed Tree Committee member and urban conservationist Vijay Nishanth to revive it back. Speaking to TNIE, Nishanth said, "On Wednesday, I did a spot inspection of the tree and have started natural treatment to rejuvenate it back. I have covered it with a mixture of coconut oil and Indian worm wood extract, followed by a coating of bees wax. Further, a pit was dug around the tree carefully so as not to damage the roots and treated it with Panchagavya solution. We are waiting eagerly for the tree to sprout new shoots."
With clear lack of protection measures for tree cover in Bengaluru and shortage of forest staff, people in Bengaluru need to become more pro-active and bring incidents of any tree felling to the notice of either the Tree Committee or the BBMP forest cell immediate. The indifferent attitude of people has led to such a situation in Bengaluru, adds Nishanth.