BENGALURU: THE Tree Committee constituted to assess the ‘massive tree plantation’ work carried out by Bangalore Metrol Rail Corporation Limted (BMRCL) will soon submit its report. BMRCL had felled 2,500 trees for the Phase I of Namma Metro and had claimed that it had planted 22,000 saplings in various parts of the city.
For five days, the committee surveyed several areas -- Anjanapura village, J P Nagar, Bangalore University, Kengeri, Peenya, Rajajinagar and Bypanhalli -- where more than 20,000 saplings were planted since 2006.
The committee found that of the 8-10 species like Mahogany, Badam, Sampige, Singapore Cherry, Neem and Honge whhich were planted, most of the saplings that have reached a height of 10-12 feet today belong to only one or two species, resulting in mono-culturing. The survival rate of the species has been good at almost 75 per cent.
According to committee member Akshay Heblikar, there has been no scientific planning, documentation or monitoring and available species have been planted in different areas of the city, some far from the felled areas.
“A committee member has also suggested geo-tagging so that at a later state, the species can be identified at a particular location and checked on a website.”
“The sad part is there is no diversity of species, and one can hardly see any flowering or fruit trees which are necessary for butterflies, birds and other fauna. Our survey shows the dominance of one or two species and planting of big trees in areas of minimal space,” Heblikar added.
The committee has also recommended translocation of at least 70-80 trees that are between 10-12 years old out of the 313 trees proposed to be felled for Phase-II of Metro construction on Kanakapura Road and Mysuru Road.
Vijay Nishanth, another member said, “For Phase-II, we will guide BMRCL on the species that have to be planted and whether the identified space can hold and sustain that particular species.”
Vested with powers to inspect all felling and plantation activities done by BMRCL, the committee was constituted on June 9 after lot of hiccups and delays as per the Karnataka High Court orders.
Apart from BBMP and BMRCL officials, the 12-member committee includes experts like Harini Nagendra, professor at School of Development, Azim Premji University, T V Ramachandra, Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc, Akshay Hebblikar, Director, Eco Watch, and Vijay Nishant, Project Vruksha.