High Court says road-widening, tree felling unavoidable

That is the price we have to pay for the sake of development
Last Updated : 18 June 2012, 19:19 IST
Last Updated : 18 June 2012, 19:19 IST

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Dashing the hopes of citizens trying to protect enviroment from the ‘unscientific’ road widening projects undertaken by civic agencies in Bangalore, the High Court has observed that widening is the only way to “decongest” roads in the City.

The Division Bench of Justice N Kumar and Justice H S Kempanna made the observation, while dismissing the petition of Meenakshi Bharath and others against the State of Karnataka and others, in the case concerning the widening of the Sankey Road.

“Really life in the city of Bangalore with all its material comforts has become a hell because of these traffic conditions. It is in this background widening of roads is the only means to overcome traffic congestion,” Justices Kumar and Kempanna said.
Enormous growth

Tracing the ‘evolution’ of Bangalore from a ‘pensioners paradise’ to the ‘IT city of India’, the Bench said the planners who laid the City’s roads 30 or 40 years back did not anticipate the enormous growth the City would achieve.

“As on the side of the road, trees are planted, without cutting the same it is impossible to widen the roads. These trees and the shade it gives and other advantages to the public of Bangalore cannot be valued in terms of money.

‘At the same time, in spite of such wonderful green cover, life has become miserable for the residents of Bangalore,” observed the court, while justifying the reasons for allowing the felling of roadside trees.

Thus, the court while underlining the need to preserve the greenery, has nonetheless observed that decongesting roads cannot be achieved without cutting trees.

Price of development

Dismissing the petition filed by the residents of Malles-waram and Meenakshi Bharath, and the one on Sankey tank road widening in particular, the bench observed: “No doubt, trees on the side of the road have to be felled and probably, that is the price we have to pay for the sake of development.”

The order has raised alarm bells among environmental activists, who believe that the observations, based on which the order was passed for the Sankey Tank road widening, may induce further chaos.

In a written statement, Environmental Support Group (ESG) has said that they are “deeply concerned” at the decision which would ‘extend an unfettered licence for the continuation of road widening”.

The ESG has said that they will now be exploring all possible legal remedies for a revisitation of this judgment.

Published 18 June 2012, 19:19 IST

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