Stop tree felling; stake holders urge

The group comprising Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd),  H R Bapu Satyanarayana,  Dr T N Manjunath, E. R Ramachandran, Madhuri Thathachari, Dr R Chandra Prakash. M B Srinivas, Shankar Sharma, Syed Tanveeruddin, B J Rao and Dr H A B Parpia, met K S Raykar, commissioner of MCC and explained him about the need to protect trees.

They noted that Mysore is a heritage city. The heritage of Mysore is not only in its beautiful buildings and the culture of arts-and-crafts and dance-music-drama, but also in its planned avenues with shade and flowering trees, parks with trees, and lakes.

According to one estimate, the city has lost around 2,000 trees in the past four years, many of them roadside trees. Many roads within the area of MCC being widened, and as a consequence, hundreds of trees are earmarked for clear felling.

They object to this on grounds of environment, particularly in terms of Article 48A and Article 51A of the Constitution of India that require the State and the individual to protect and improve the environment, and preserve our rich heritage.

They sought to clarify that they do not deny the need to create urban infrastructure for easy movement of vehicular road traffic which is becoming increasingly congested.

However, they believe that the infrastructure needed to be created for a long-term solution is an efficient public transport system that will largely replace the use of private vehicles which cause the congestion.

 Merely widening roads that will soon get filled with vehicles and bring back traffic congestion, is only a short-term solution that has serious disadvantages such as less space for pedestrians who walk on the road (thus more accidents and less space for vehicles), loss of roadside trees, increased air pollution and flooding during rain.

This thoughtless road widening also goes against the recommendations of the National Urban Transport Policy, which calls for “a more equitable allocation of road space with people rather than vehicles as its main focus”, and “encouraging greater use of public transport and non-motorised modes”.

They wanted the commissioner to put the following details on the MCC website for enabling people to know about it.

Names of all roads proposed to be widened, specifying in each case, technical specifications of widening, same as above but separately for the so-called Raja Marga, the officially stated purpose of widening the roads, the Authority that has approved the road-widening works, with date of approval, what public consultation (with dates) has been carried out to the road widening works, number and type of trees road-wise, for which permission for cutting has been sought from the Forest Department, with date on which permission was sought.

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