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Discord in committee formed to save trees from Metro axe; member quits

Last Updated : 18 July 2016, 20:39 IST
Last Updated : 18 July 2016, 20:39 IST

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A member of the tree committee that was formed to reduce the number of trees to be axed for Namma Metro’s second phase has resigned, citing the “indifference” of the Bruhat Bangalurru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). If other members are to be believed, more are on their way out.

The committee was formed in January following a High Court direction to reduce the number of trees to be axed for Metro and to assess the survival rate of saplings planted by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL). Besides seven experts, the committee has three corporators and a BBMP forest official.

Harini Nagendra, Professor at the School of Development, Azim Premji University, quit the committee on July 15 ahead of a scheduled meeting at the office of Assistant Conservator of Forests (Tree Officer) in Jayanagar the same day. The meeting was later deferred indefinitely.

The member was upset that none of the suggestions made by the committee was looked into by the BBMP in particular and the BMRCL in general. In the first meeting held in June, experts suggested geo-tagging of all trees that were proposed to be uprooted and transplanted on Kanakapura Road and Mysuru Road. Geo-tagging helps to identify the location of a tree, its species besides numbering each tree.

The committee also asked both government agencies to publicise the details of the trees being axed and planted, and induct members of Environment Support Group into the panel.

“How can the BBMP give permission for transplantation of two trees from Kanakapura Road without the committee’s consent? The officials said that no public consultation is needed and the BBMP’s decision is final. Unless the suggestions made in the last meeting are implemented, we will not attend the meeting,” a member said.

According to members, the BMRCL was making false claims that it has planted 21,000 saplings. The BMRCL recently took the panel to inspect the saplings it had planted at the Yelahanka police quarters. The members were shocked to see the trees which were clearly much older.

The members stressed the need to move away from colonial style of functioning. Government departments must address the issues raised before the committee meets again. Until this is met and Nagendra is reinstated, no meeting will be held, they maintained.

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Published 18 July 2016, 20:39 IST

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