Instead of developing Bangalore and Mysore, the government should look into developing other cities in the state.
If all development, including industrialisation, is concentrated in Bangalore city alone, more green cover would be sacrificed, a division bench comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice B V Nagarathna observed on Monday.
The bench directed BBMP and amicus curiae Vaishali Hegde to suggest some names of environmentalists to constitute a committee to monitor felling of trees and address public grievances. The committee can also inspect planting of saplings and tree transplants, it said.
The bench was hearing a suo motu petition based on a letter written by then High Court Judge D V Shylendra Kumar to then Chief Justice J S Khehar, stating that hundreds of trees were being cut for road widening in Bangalore.
Kumar had said every tree felled must be replaced and that authorities should call for objections before cutting trees.
The bench observed that the government is only concentrating on industrialisation. “It is not thinking about making Bangalore a pollution-free city. There is a need to control pollution; if the trees are cut, it will be very difficult to control pollution”.
Counsel for BBMP submitted that in 2012, of the 1,36,000 saplings planted in the city, only 5 per cent survived. However in 2013, of the two lakh-odd saplings planted, nearly 60 per cent survived.
The bench observed that if 60 per cent saplings survive there will be no empty space left in the city. “But we see empty space everywhere. You want us to appoint a person to check your saplings so that all your submissions will come to light,” the bench asked.
Amicus curiae Vaishali Hegde submitted the following proposals: i) reconstitution of a Tree Authority ii) appointment of a tree officer iii) obligations on the tree officer prior to grant of permission for felling of trees iv) due regard to alternatives prior to grant of permission for felling v) permission for felling to be an exception vi) public participation vii) public tender viii) transplantation of trees and ix) monitoring of sapling.
On Co-op Societies’
The High Court ruled that the amendment to the Co-operative Society Act clearly states that the term of co-operative societies’ administrative committees is five full years and asked the government to adhere to this.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice D H Waghela, allowed the petition filed by Karnataka Milk Federation and 15 other co-operative societies and gave them the green signal to hold elections to their administrative committees. The bench also confirmed that no interim order will affect the societies’ elections, scheduled from May 24 to 26.
The societies had filed petitions before Bangalore, Gulbarga and Dharwad benches, stating that the term of the elected members is till June but the state government is planning to appoint new administrative officers before this.
Before the amendment, the Act stated that no matter which month the elections were held in, the officials’ term would end on March 31. But the 2012 amendment stated that the term would end only in the month of appointment.