BENGALURU: Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Monday assured the legendary tree planter Saalumarada Thimmakka that the trees planted by her between Kudur and Hulikal village will not be axed for road widening. Thimmakka called on CM Kumaraswamy and his deputy G Parameshwara in Bengaluru on Monday, asking for the Bagepalli-Halaguru road widening project near Bengaluru to be called off.
Responding positively, Kumaraswamy has said that the concerned department will be alerted about the issue and he also said that the road alignment will be changed, if necessary, to save the trees.
the 107-year-old Thimmakka first met Deputy CM G Parameshwara who penned a letter to his cabinet colleague and PWD Minister H D Revanna requesting him to shun the idea of cutting trees that were planted by Thimmakka.
Parameshwara then took Thimmakka to CM Kumaraswamy who gave her assurance that the tree stretch will not be touched. Kumaraswamy also informed the local officials to look into the basic development of Hulikal village where Thimmakka stayed for many years.
In the 1960s, Thimmakka started planting ficus trees on the roadside to provide shelter for the people who used that road. She nurtured the300-odd trees and walked for miles every day to water them. The trees are nearly 70 years old and occupy about 4 km stretch between Kudur and Hulikal village.
Though the final notification on this is yet to come from the Public Works Department (PWD), green activists greens are now demanding that a solution should be found to ensure the tree stretch is not touched in the future as well. The PWD officials said that the survey for road widening has been completed which also includes the tree stretch planted by Thimmakka and her old house in Hulikal village.
Thimmkka, a recipient of the Padma award, shot to fame nationally after she blessed President Ram Nath Konvind during the award ceremony. The incident was followed by an emotional tweet by President himself in the Kannada language.
“There is outrage after news of the tree axing spread. We must not let this happen. A week ago, Thimmakka had called for massive tree planting as monsoon was nearing. But now she is shocked as the trees which were nurtured by her are expected to be removed. Thimmakka is now happy after CM’s assurance but we are demanding to find a permanent solution to safeguard the heritage tree stretch,” said Umesh Vanasiri, the adopted son of Thimmakka.
Harshavardhan Sheelvant, a green activist and writer from Dharwad, called for urgent intervention of the central and state government to save the tree stretch planted by Thimmakka.
“Legal opinion must be sought to stop the widening work and also save the tree stretch for future generations. What is the use of the Padma award and tree parks in Thimmakka’s name when we are unable to save the trees planted by her,” he asked.
Suresh Heblikar, noted environmentalist, said that there was a proposal to declare the tree stretch as a heritage site and it must be done at the earliest. “Future generations will be inspired by the work of Thimmakka. The stretch where Thimmakka’s trees are present must be protected at any cost,” he added.
The tree line on Kudur-Hulika Road in Ramanagara district - Express