The once famous Garden City, on an average, loses 10,000 trees each year. Reasons? Infrastructure projects like road widening, flyovers, Metro rail, etc, some to rain and wind and some wilfully chopped down by citizens.
Brijesh Kumar, Chief Conservator of Forest, BBMP told Express: “The figure of 10,000 tree falls is as per officially registered cases. Of these, there are many cases where the public seeks permission to cut trees due to perceived disruption of traffic or damage to their property. And several trees are axed to take up development works.”
The BBMP is planning to take up a survey and begin mapping of existing trees in the city. Kumar said BBMP has made provision for the same in its budget. This work will be outsourced to ensure efficiency and transparency.
The BBMP will use Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping system, which revealed there are around 93,000 roads in Bangalore. “We will also get the number of roads in the pilot ward, along with the trees. It will take four months to conduct the survey and the estimated cost is around Rs 20 lakh,” Kumar said.
Besides numbers, the survey will identify the species, the condition and the age of the trees. “Once it is done, depending on the success rate, we will extend the survey to other wards,” he said.
Kumar, however, said that such a survey was supposed to be conducted long back. “There was confusion as it will be the first of its kind in India. It was not certain whether a survey has to be conducted across the city or just a few randomly picked wards. The cost of the entire project will be Rs 4 crore. We are likely to choose sampling process.”
He said the BBMP was following high court’s instructions to plant three saplings for every tree cut. “In fact, we have planted more than that. In 2012-13, we have planted 1.72 lakh saplings,” he said. But these saplings will take at least 10 to 15 years to become fully-grown trees.