BENGALURU: If one has to pick one and only one defining feature of Bengaluru, trees would win the contest. In the last few decades, however, we have not cared for our green cover. The defining picture most of us identify with Bengaluru is the beautiful green map of the city, transformed into a lot of brown and red spots. The city has paid a big price for unprecedented growth. We lost thousands of fully grown trees for various projects, in spite of laws and processes to protect them.
The principle of compensatory afforestation, where more trees are planted for each tree cut, has however been a big failure in Bengaluru. If Namma Metro needs to feel trees on Bannerghatta Road, what’s the point of planting saplings all the way in Bidadi?
We need to adopt the principle, ‘people who lose trees should be compensated’. But this can happen only if compensatory afforestation is not viewed simply as a check-box. Ward Committees should be the primary interface for agencies for compensatory afforestation. I appeal to our Mayor to launch “Mathome Garden City 2019” where ward committees become the nodal entities to execute the plans. Srinivas Alavilli is a member of Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB)