Cause of concern

Cause of concern

Fluctuating temperatures and sudden seasonal shifts have become common in Bengaluru since the past couple of years. The increase in the population has increased the pollution levels in the city too.

At a time when the planet is already in a bad shape, the BBMP is keen on widening the roads and building flyovers by planning to cut down 112 trees on Jayamahal road. This is for the purpose of the construction of the proposed steel flyover between Basaveshwara Circle and Hebbal.

The BBMP offered the public to raise their objections, if any, on this move. This has been an issue of concern among people and is creating a stir with many opposing the step.

Mohit Srivastava, a volunteer with ‘SayTrees’, says, “This is obviously not the right thing to do and ideally the authorities will have better knowledge about the impact of this move on the environment. Since the development of the city cannot be controlled, at any point, it should be made sure to raise the same number of trees that are cut down or even more to maintain the equilibrium,” says Mohit.

He points out that vertical gardening is another option that authorities can implement. “If constructing flyovers can reduce traffic and at the same time pollution, why not put the pillars of these flyovers to good use, rather than sticking posters and pamphlets there. And not just at flyover pillars, vertical gardening can be done on other pillars around the city as well,” he says.  

He asserts that along with the government, citizens of the city are equally responsible for a traffic-less Bengaluru.  Everyone should make a conscious effort to do their bit to bring the garden city back to life. “People should voluntarily agree to plant trees and also water them at regular intervals and increase the green cover.

Perhaps, they should take it up as a hobby,” opines Mohit. Nitika Rao, a business intelligence and analytical consultant, who has been actively participating in various tree plantation and maintenance drives, feels that the BBMP and the localities should go hand-in-hand and work together for better progress of the city.

“Obviously, the BBMP will work for public benefit, but they should have proposed an alternative to save these resources. Perhaps, a land that is not used by the BBMP should be given up for planting more and more saplings and initiate a green cover.

This will strike a balance while moving in the direction of development, so even the environment is not harmed if trees are being cut at this rate,” says Nitika.

Durgesh Agrahari, head of partnerships and projects at ‘SayTrees’, says, “There is no environmental impact assessment being shared till now, which is making it difficult to understand what kind of an impact it will have on the environment and what are the benefits that this project will have. Nobody till now is clear about the purpose of constructing this flyover which is absurd.”

He says that a 70 or an 80- year-old tree can never be compensated with a compensatory plantation. Perhaps, what the authorities can do is to try to transplant some saplings in the area to the nearest place that is the golf course.

“Looking at it from a broader perspective, they can convert the course into an urban forest and do a compensatory plantation right in the middle of the city and make a golf course on the outskirts. This is one suggestion that they can probably look at.”

It is no more only about the trees, it is an ecosystem in itself. Trees are home to many species of birds, insects and animals and bringing these trees down means disrupting the ecosystem.

“The biggest part to play here is that of the public. They should take it as an individual responsibility to plant more and more trees and not rely only on the government,” sums up Durgesh.
Surupasree Sarmmah

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