BENGALURU: While hundreds of trees are being felled on Mysuru Road and Kanakapura Road for Phase 2 of the Bangalore Metro Rail project, the Tree Committee is totally in the dark. The committee members say they do not have any knowledge or information about the trees being felled. They are also clueless on whether the authorities are following the necessary guidelines. Public hearing on this issue, which was postponed thrice, is yet to be held, they add.
The committee was appointed on the directives of the Karnataka High Court to monitor and protect green cover in Bengaluru in view of massive felling of trees for Metro and other infrastructure projects.
The Tree Committee recommended translocation of at least 70-80 trees, that are between 10-12 years old, out of the 313 trees proposed to be felled for Phase 2 of Metro construction on Kanakapura Road and Mysuru Road.
Sources in BBMP add that permission was given to Metro for felling on both these roads while tenders were hurriedly given by the BBMP south division to various contractors for cutting of trees. They add, “The day-to-day pressure put by BMRCL project engineers to hasten the felling activity has led to this situation where trees are being cut indiscriminately without even informing the tree committee.”
Tree Committee member Akshay Heblikar says, “What is the need for a committee then? They have not called a meeting in the last four months. If this is how the Metro and BBMP authorities want to work, it is better to wind up the committee. Its formation anyway seems to be a mere eyewash.”
Another member Vijay Nishanth adds, “We had even identified young trees fit for transplantation on Kanakapura and Mysuru roads. But they awarded tenders for cutting of trees without even informing the committee.”
“We have to explore and see how best we can resolve this issue,” said another member D T Devare. When contacted, the new Tree Officer, Assistant Conservator of Forests, Bengaluru South, Ratnaprabha said, ”Since I joined duty a month back, I have not given permission for cutting even a single tree in my jurisdiction. The permission for cutting trees on Kanakapura, Mysuru and Bannerghata roads was given before I joined duty.”