Residents axe BBMP's midnight tree-felling bid

Residents axe BBMP's midnight tree-felling bid

Residents axe BBMP's midnight  tree-felling bid

People’s power: Police personnel keep vigil on Sankey Road where the BBMP proposed to axe trees.   DH PHOTO / B K Janardhan

But spotting a group of local residents camping near Bhashyam Circle, the BBMP team beat a hasty retreat.

Even as the men and machinery left, the residents asserted that they would remain awake till the Palike dropped the controversial project. Strengthening their resolve was the clandestine auctioning of the trees on Thursday, which was supposed to be held at 11 am on Friday.

Although the tree contractors had given an impression on Wednesday that they had left the place without bidding because of the mass protests, it is now learnt they had actually participated in a secret auction elsewhere. Palike sources said tree-felling was now imminent as the auctioning had been already done.

The residents said that about 20 policemen had come to the spot in two jeeps and they even feared that they might arrest them. “This is a small-scale 2G scam” said Kiran, a local resident.

As of 12.10 am, there were about 25 to 30 policemen, along with a few policewomen, and residents held a candle light vigil to express their protest.

Deputy Mayor’s mockery

Earlier in the day, Deputy Mayor S Harish and his team had made a virtual mockery of the need for taking public opinion before starting any infrastructure project.

When the residents of Sankey Road, Vyalikaval and Malleswaram called on the deputy mayor, they were stunned to find a group of people inside his chamber who were apparently professing support for the project.

During the meeting, when an activist from Hasiru Usiru, Vinay Srinivas, said that no public hearing took place before starting the project, the deputy mayor countered him by saying the meeting in his chamber was a public hearing.

Sources quoted Harish as saying, “Isn’t it a public hearing? What else happens in a public hearing?” The ‘supporters’ of the road-widening project outnumbered those who were opposed to it.

As a result, unanimity eluded over widening of the road and the meeting ended without any definite outcome.

During the meeting, environmentalist Suresh Heblikar flayed the Palike for cutting trees mindlessly to create space for vehicular movement in the city. He also pointed out that there are at least 11 trees of rare species, which must be preserved.

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