BENGALURU: While Bengalureans were busy grappling with the pandemic, the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) on Tuesday chopped about 10 trees near the fire station on Bannerghatta Road, in the quiet of the night. Similarly, on Sunday, they had chopped 30 trees across the same stretch, which has shocked residents and environmentalists alike.
The incident came to light when activist Arun Prasad heard the sound of chainsaws while driving through the stretch. He was shocked to see people chopping trees behind a compound wall. He then informed the Mico Layout Police station who came to the spot and stopped it.
What was even more shocking was that the trees were being cut just a day before the High Court was supposed to issue directions to the BBMP in this regard on June 10. Activists had moved the High Court against BBMP for allowing BMRCL to chop 165 trees on the Gottigere-Nagawara line (Reach 6) of Phase II. Prasad said, “How can the BBMP give a nod to BMRCL without consulting the public? We have been trying to save these trees from a long time.” Tree Expert Committee informed that they had submitted a report to the BBMP forest cell, which states that around 81 trees needed to be felled near the fire station.
BBMP Deputy Conservator of Forest Ranganatha Swamy said, “We had put up a notice recently in May last week and waited for the feedback from public.
However, for 15 days, nobody came forward. According to Karnataka Tree Preservation Act if we do not receive any objections within 15 days then we can proceed with it. Only when nobody raised an issue, we went ahead with it.” Harini Raghavan, an environmentalist said, “We had a public consultation meeting a year ago, where were were clearly told no trees will be chopped without public consultation.” Repeated calls to BMRCL went unanswered.