Landscaping project damages scores of trees in Cubbon Park

Landscaping project damages scores of trees in Cubbon Park

Excavators cut roots and damaged roots while clearing the ground for manicured lawns in Cubbon Park

Monster earthmovers dig up acres of Cubbon Park for water-guzzling manicured lawns. But in doing so, they damage the roots of several fully grown trees. No citizen was consulted for this Rs 1.5-crore beautification exercise that nobody asked for.

When the city is crying for more open spaces, what good will this cosmetic exercise inside Bengaluru’s iconic park do? Shocked by the extent of the damage, several green activists and concerned citizens have sought a halt to the excavators and a public consultation about the entire exercise.

On Tuesday, a delegation that met horticulture department deputy director was assured that the excavators will not be allowed anymore. “We have requested a public consultation with people with expertise to be included. That will be planned after polls. The soil looks very dug up and large roots are visible after the JCB exercise,” informs anthropologist Usha Rao.

Truckloads of roots were carted away, weakening the trees. It is feared that strong winds – that already uprooted thousands of trees in the city last week – could wreak havoc inside the park.

As a concerned citizen puts it, “The safety of these trees is now at risk. We were shocked to see workers hacking and cutting the roots left exposed by the JCBs.”

The damage is done, notes tree doctor and Project Vruksha founder Vijay Nishanth, who inspected the site. “Ficus trees, gulmohars, copper pods and other species have all been affected,” he says, but assures to work with park
officials to try reversing the damage.

No public consultation preceded the project, notes a citizen activist, who was part of the delegation, “This is a public space, maintained through public funds. Why was the consultation process not conducted?” Only a few walkers knew about the project before the excavators moved in.

On the horticulture department’s agenda are 20 acres of manicured lawns, now taking shape in the park area between UB City, Hudson Circle and State Central Library. Patches of the lawns have already been showcased near the Queen’s Statue.

Also in the pipeline is a shade garden near Queen and King Edward statues in the European style and royal palm trees from Hudson Circle to Central Library.

The manicured lawns will be part of the landscaping in the two- to three-metre area on either side of the road. This is to be along the lines of that at the Kempegowda International Airport.