112 to 61: Protests force BBMP to alter Jayamahal tree chopping plan

112 to 61: Protests force BBMP to alter Jayamahal tree chopping plan

Submitted by alvin on Fri, 2017-02-17 11:08 Bengaluru: It's a small victory but nonetheless an important one. Protests against BBMP's plan to axe 112 trees for widening the Jayamahal Road have forced the civic body to alter its plan. BBMP officials said that they will now chop or transplant only 61 trees for the project.Speaking to the Bfirst.in, Vijaykumar, BBMP Deputy Forest Range Officer said, "There are 240 trees from Cantonment Railway Station to Mekhri Circle. A total of 179 trees, marked green, will not be chopped down but the remaining 61 trees, which have been marked red, maybe chopped down or else transplanted," he said. Vijaukumar said they too were not in favour of chopping trees. "Till now, we have received more than 850 objections via email from citizens. We also do not want to cut any of these trees. We are trying our maximum to save as many trees as we can by transplanting them to the nearest location. Trees with a circumference of 40 to 50 centimeters will be trans-located," he said.Shantakumar, Assistant Conservator of Forest, BBMP, said they would consult Residents Welfare Associations before the project. "We will present them the best way possible for the implementation of the project without causing much damage to the environment. After the completion of this project, we will plant saplings on Jayamahal Road," he said.Transplanting of trees has been done before in the city. Hundreds of trees were transplanted from different parts of Bengaluru in 2007 during Metro construction. Three Musi trees were removed from their original sight in 2007 and transplanted at Bengaluru University's Media Block. The trees have survived and are thriving in the campus.  According to experts, translocation is expensive and should be done carefully. "Trees should be trans-located only in consultation with experts. The branches should be pruned and roots should not be damaged. Immediately after transplantation, the roots should be covered with soil and watered regularly. The translocation of one tree can cost Rs 30,000 and consumes time," said Chandrashekhar, Deputy Director, Lal Bagh Horticulture Department.But green activists are still unhappy. Taaniya, a volunteer from Jataka, said, "According to our knowledge, more than 3000 people are against this project. Whether it is 61 or 112, trees form ecology. According to the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act, the BBMP or government has to consult citizens if they are going to cut more than 50 trees for any project. Tomorrow is the last day to file objections, we will follow-up with BBMP officials and see whether we can save these trees."Pranay Jajodia, public engagement campaigner for Greenpeace India, summed it up well. "Even though trees are transplanted, it takes times for them to adjust to the new environment and atmosphere. It is like asking someone to leave the city in which they are born and brought up," he said.