BENGALURU: Amidst rumours that three 150-year-old trees at Malleswaram railway station will be axed, former environmental secretary and ex-chief conservator of forests, Dr. AN Yellappa Reddy, has suggested root surgery as a solution.
South Western Railway (SWR) authorities have denied any plan of cutting down the trees. “The trees will not be cut. There are concerns about overhanging branches interfering with the overhead line, and passengers being hit by branches. So, we’re trimming the branches to resolve the issue,” said Dr. Krishna Reddy, PRO, Bengaluru division, SWR.
However, residents said that documents with the Karnataka Forest Department have surfaced which showed that permission for cutting trees was asked for, and granted to SWR. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) must also give its approval.
A document from the forest department showed that the assistant divisional manager had sought permission for felling the trees as “the trees have overgrown and their roots are damaging the cement platform, creating a threat perception among passengers and railway personnel besides endangering the movement of trains.”
There are fears that the roots are growing underneath the tracks which might impact the safety of trains and passengers. Arvind Dwarakanath, a resident and Active Mobility Councillor for Malleswaram, said that the station is seldom used. “There has to be technology that can be used to resolve issues like these. If it weren’t for the residents protesting, they would have simply commissioned someone to cut the trees,” he told TNIE.
Reddy, chairman of the Bangalore Environment Trust, said, “Roots of raintrees do have a tendency to rise to the surface due to lack of water. However, it can be fixed by conducting root surgery which might be more labour-intensive.”
Root surgery navigates and trims roots to prevent them from causing structural damage to their surroundings. “The procedure has been successfully done in Bengaluru earlier,” he said.