BENGALURU: A human chain was formed on Old Airport Road to protest against the axing of trees for the government’s signal-free corridor project.A document issued by the BBMP Assistant Conservator of Forests, of which Express has a copy, has convinced residents that the palike is trying to chop more trees on the same road by saying they are for different projects. The document contains a clause that if there is public opposition to the cutting of trees, the trees are not to be chopped. Yet, residents say they were never consulted about the issue, and the trees were chopped at night.
Residents of Vinayakanagar and KR Gardens gathered in large numbers on the road on Sunday and formed a human chain whose length was over half a kilometre. People held placards with slogans on the importance of trees. Avijit Michael, executive director of the NGO ‘Jhatkaa’, said about 384 people joined the human chain.Michael said, “As per Supreme Court order, if the government wants to axe more than 50 trees, it has to consult residents. While they have cut 46 trees until now, they have marked more trees to be cut. We have filed an RTI to get to know the exact process.”
He claimed the palike was chopping more trees on the same road by using the ruse of a different project. He said the document issued by BBMP stated that the order to chop 46 trees was to be revoked if there was public oppostion to it. The 46 trees were axed at ISRO junction.
Urban conservationist Vijay Nishanth said residents won’t allow any tree to be chopped, and in case it was done, they would approach the Court. He said the palike also planned to chop 16 trees inside the ISRO campus for the same project, which is not mentioned in the document.
BBMP Assistant Conservator of Forests N Shanthakumar defended the palike’s actions, saying the intention was not to sneak and cut trees. He denied claims that the 60 trees which had been marked would be chopped, but admitted that 16 trees inside ISRO campus would be.