BENGALURU: Wide, shady tree canopies that arch overhead in many of Bengaluru’s localities may become a thing of the past, just like its famed pleasant weather.The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has decided stop planting big tree species along the roads as they can fall and damage public property. This will only worsen the summer heat that is already being felt by commuters in February, making them seek shelter under Metro tracks and flyovers.
BBMP officials and activists say tree-line avenues remain in small pockets in very few places such as Jayanagar 4th T Block, Jayanagar 18th main, Cubbon Park road, Malleswaram, Margosa Road, Basavanagudi, Dollars Colony, Sampige Road, BTM Layout, JP Nagar- RV College road, Nrupathunga Road, Sheshadri Road and Kanteerava Road. BBMP Deputy Conservator of Forests Ranaganatha Swamy told The New Indian Express that places like South and South-East Bengaluru have tree-lined avenues, but many other places have lost it primarily due to civic works. He admitted that maintaining the remaining tree line avenues is a challenge because of the increasing demand of road spaces for infrastructure works.
He said BBMP has decided to plant only dwarf species like Honge, Pride of India, Indian Almond Tree and Jamoon on road sides. “Also since there is no space left on the road sides and around the city to plant the big tree species, we are planting saplings where space is available. From March 2019 to February 2020, as many as 60,000 saplings have been planted in all eight zones, but not along the roads,” he said.
The tree committee appointed by BBMP officials and High Court said that most of the tree line avenues have been lost due to laying of Metro lines, footpath improvement, flyovers and building construction. They said since Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is unable to find space around the city to plant saplings, they have decided to plant 10,000 saplings around lakes including Rachenahalli, Jakkur, Chekkasandra, Harohall (Magadi road) and Puttenahalli (JP Nagar).
“BMRCL gave a list of lakes but only some of them have been finalised. They have deposited Rs 14 lakh to Lalbagh Cooperative Society for afforestation programme. Saplings and space around lakes will be provided by BBMP. This only means that no more trees will be planted on road sides and people will have to look for alternate places for shade,” said another BBMP official who is also the Committee member.
No more shade?
No more Ashoka, Rain tree or Spathodeas on road sides
Big trees fall and damage public properties
Civil structures only give shade
Construction gets priority over trees
BBMP has no count of how many trees have been axed for infrastructure projects