BBMP doubles trees to be felled for Koramangala flyover

BBMP quietly doubles number of trees to be felled for Koramangala flyover

This has not gone unnoticed by activists who questioned the BBMP’s failure to provide a copy of the public notice

The flyover, which connects Ejipura to Kendriya Sadan with two ramps near the Water Tank junction, was supposed to be completed in November 2019. Credit: DH File Photo

The number of trees to be cleared for the Koramangala flyover has been doubled, much like the time required to finish the project. In addition to this, the BBMP's forest department has also failed to show it followed the required procedures in giving permission to clear the trees.  

The change in the number of trees marked for felling has become evident in the reply provided to RTI queries by activist Dattatraya T Devare.

In 2018, the BBMP's forest department had replied to a query stating that the project will affect 60 trees, of which 39 will have to be cleared via transplantation.

Last week, however, the department increased the number of trees to be cleared to 84 in an office memorandum (OM), out of which 67 will be cut.

The OM stated that permission has been given after following due procedure, including a notice to the public issued on September 25, 2020.

This has not gone unnoticed by activists who questioned the BBMP’s failure to provide a copy of the public notice.

“The idea of a public notice is to enable participation of the people in deciding crucial matters like clearing of trees. That the BBMP itself cannot furnish a copy of the notice to the public is telling,” he said.

Residents divided over delay

The flyover, which connects Ejipura to Kendriya Sadan with two ramps near the Water Tank junction, was originally slated for completion in November 2019. However, the deadline has been moved since the contractor Simplex Infra delayed the work.

“We have now opened an escrow account where a senior BBMP official has to approve the withdrawal of funds. This has been done to ensure the contractor will not divert the funds to other projects. We are hoping that December 2022 will be the deadline,” a senior official said, adding that the cost of the work will not spiral beyond the present estimation of Rs 203 crore.

An activist from ST Bed locality in Koramangala said the two-year delay in the project has made the residents reluctant to take on the BBMP over its failure to maintain transparency in the approval given to cut trees.

“Even those who want to protect trees are reluctant to protest against the BBMP as they don’t want the project to be delayed further,” she said.

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