It's the tree of life

protecting Nature

It's the tree of life

Bangalore came to be known as the ‘Garden City’ because of its greenery. But with the rampant felling of trees, the City has begun to lose its charm. ‘Neralu — Bengaluru Tree Festival’, that will be held in the City on February 8 and 9, emphasises on the need to save trees.

Arpana Basappa, one of the organisers of the festival, says that the purpose of the festival is not academic or political. “We aim to bring tree lovers together and help them connect with trees. People from different walks of life will be taking part in the festival, which will include several interesting activities,” shares Arpana.

The festival will be held at the Venkatappa Art Gallery and Bal Bhavan, Cubbon Park. It will include an art exhibition, which will showcase Rumale Channabasavaiah’s works (about trees) and an ‘Audio Walk’. “In the ‘Audio Walk’, one will be given an MP3 player and asked to stand in front of a tree. The idea is to create an experience as if the tree is talking to the person,” says Arpana.

Kavitha Kannan, a student of St Joseph’s College of Arts and Science, volunteered at the ‘Hug A Tree’ campaign organised by the same group, which will also be held during this festival. She says that when one hugs a tree, there is a personal connect between the person and the tree. “We are all so caught up in our lives and rarely have time to think about nature. This is one way of connecting with nature,” she says. Kavitha feels it’s high time the government did something for the trees. “When a road is laid, they should have a plan which doesn’t include tree felling,” she voices.

Those who have been observing the City closely lament at the sad state of affairs and feel that the authorities need to look into many more things. Environmentalist Suresh Heblikar says that about 50 per cent of the trees have been cut and these are not just the ones near the roads. “The biggest mistake that the authorities did was to include 110 villages under the BBMP and urbanise them, which added to the disappearing greenery,” he says. He also adds that apart from posters and advertisements being nailed into the trees, the unscientific pruning of trees also spoils them.

Vinay Sreenivasa, a member of Hasiru Usiru, says that more trees will be felled because of the ongoing work for Metro Phase II, the BBMP signal-free corridors and road widening projects. “There are many who cut trees because they consider the dead leaves a nuisance. Also, when concrete is laid on footpaths, it usually reaches the bark of the tree, which affects its lifespan,” he details.

The authorities explain that there are many reasons for the felling of trees. Brijesh Kumar, chief conservator of forests (BBMP), elaborates, “The City is divided into two zones — the north and south. Each zone receives applications for the felling of trees and approves it accordingly. Trees are mainly cut if they causing a personal inconvenience; are proving to be dangerous to a person or property and for developmental projects.”

He further adds that according to the applications received by the BBMP in the last few years, approximately 3,000 trees were felled in 2011-12, and around 3,500 trees were felled in 2012-13.

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