Activists recount trees along proposed flyover route

Activists recount trees along proposed flyover route

(From left) Vijay Nishanth, plant doctor and activist, and Shiva, a volunteer, count trees which have been marked newly to be axed on Ballari road. DH Photo/ S K Dinesh

On Tuesday morning, a team of tree-huggers and enthusiasts were seen counting the trees on Ballari Road.

Vijay Nishanth and Shiva - urban conservationists and activists - on Tuesday counted the trees once again on the stretch from Basava Circle to Hebbal flyover where a steel flyover has been proposed.

“Around 140 trees have been marked to be axed for the steel flyover. So we are counting the trees once again. The final report will be placed in the public domain,” said Nishanth, who is also the founder of Project Vruksha.

In 2016, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) had counted 812 trees along the stretch. The BDA had then said while 56 trees will be translocated, 756 will be axed. This number has now been dropped to 140. But citizens are not convinced and so they are counting them for themselves.

“In just one hour from Cauvery theatre to Palace Grounds, we have counted 92 on one side. The trees belong to various species, including Gulmohar, Rain Tree, Mahogany, Indian Coral tree, Copper Pod, Country Fig and Jamoon,” Nishanth added.

The duo is noting the tree number, species, girth and age. The exercise will be completed in two days.

Interestingly, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has not yet received any information on the number of trees to be axed.

The Forest Cell of the BBMP maintained that no application had been made to the Tree Officer and to the Tree Authority.

According to the Tree Act and the Karnataka High Court, it is mandatory for the BDA or anyone to seek permission from the Tree Officer before cutting down any tree.

But since the number of trees to be axed are more than 50, then as per court orders, a public hearing will have to be conducted by the Tree Authority, a BBMP forest cell official said.