Bengluru: In Bengaluru’s Koramangala area, residents and environmental activists gathered on Saturday, September 4, to protest the felling of 67 trees without following the law. The trees will be cut down for the construction of the much-delayed Ejipura-Kendriya Sadhana flyover. For the same work, 17 more trees will be translocated on the same stretch. The protesters, many of whom were women and students, held placards proclaiming the importance of large trees at a time of rising temperatures in the city and catastrophic natural disasters around the world. According to TNM, residents are upset that the BBMP, which originally said only 38 trees would be felled for the project, has increased the number of trees to be impacted to 67. According to Section 8 (3)(vii) of the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976, any project requiring the felling of more than 50 trees requires public consultation beforehand.
Avanthi Rao, a local resident, said that although a BBMP notification states that 67 trees will be cut, they are not certain which trees will be chopped other than the previously noted 38 trees. ‘We have made multiple attempts to get the design of the flyovers to understand why these trees are needed to be cut. We want complete accountability on part of the authorities as initially we were told no tree will be required to be cut as it is an elevated project and only pruning of the branches will be sufficient. We will intensify our protests until and unless we get satisfactory answers,’ she added.
‘The doubling of felling of trees to 67 without any public notice or consultation is what we want stopped. We are not against the flyover which has missed so many deadlines, but felling of more trees for this project should be stopped. This stretch is lined with trees older than 40 to 50 years and cannot be translocated,’ said Vinod Jacob, general manager of Namma Bengaluru Foundation. Due to the elevated nature of the project, he said we as a group believe that trees obstructing the elevated corridor must be trimmed and pruned rather than being felled. Initiated by BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, NBF acts along with local resident welfare associations to address many civic and environmental issues of the city.