Residents of Whitefield save 115 trees from BMRCL axe

Residents of Whitefield save 115 trees from BMRCL axe

Proactive efforts by Whitefield residents has saved nearly 115 trees along the Sri Satya Sai Baba Road from the axe.

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited wanted to fell nearly 225 trees on the road to clear the way for Namma Metro, but the citizens consulted with the high court-appointed tree committee to see if the trees can be translocated.

Locals agitated when the BMRCL felled nearly 65 trees on the stretch. The corporation agreed to join hands when the residents  decided to put out a collection to pay for the translocation.

"We approached experts for assistance," said Ram, a resident of the area. "They examined the 225 trees along  the 1.5 km stretch and said nearly 115 of them, standing 10 feet tall and aged nearly the same, are fit enough to be translocated."

The residents then urged the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences to have the trees planted on  their campus. The institution agreed to house all 115 trees. But 50 of the remaining trees will be felled.

The trees will be planted in the 1.5 acres of land in the campus. Lawns and bushes are being leveled to make way for the trees that belong to the pongamia, ficus and desi badam species.  

On Friday, residents, BMRCL officials and the experts surveyed the area where the trees would be planted.

Expert committee member and co-founder, Eco Watch, Akshay Heblikar said local residents informed them about the trees, while BMRCL had been oblivious of the committee's presence.

"If BMRCL is not consulting us, then what is the purpose of having the committee?" he said. "I wonder if (they thought) the committee had been scrapped."

Heblikar, tree expert Vijay Nishanth and conservationist Ulhas have been working closely with the residents in the translocation effort. BMRCL is offering technical assistance and machinery.

"We had planned to begin the (translocation) work on Sunday," Nishanth said, adding, "But considering the weather condition, it could be delayed."

Second time  

This is the second time residents of a neighbourhood in the city have taken up translocation of trees.

In July, residents of Sarjapura had moved four trees into the campus of a government school.

Locals and experts point out that BMRCL could have followed the same process instead of opting to fell trees along Kanakapura Road, Mysuru Road, Bannerghatta Road, Electronics City and BTM Layout.

"Nearly 80 trees on  Kanakapura Road could have been spared the axe, but only 15 had been saved," an expert said. "Many of those (felled) trees could have been shifted to Agara and other vacant sites that we identified."

Whitefield is getting more attention because it is upscale and houses white-collared professionals, corporates, techies, expats and bureaucrats, he lamented.



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