Authorities have marked 144 full-grown trees — ostensibly to pave the way for the controversial steel flyover project between Basaveshwara Circle and Mehkri Circle in the heart of Bengaluru.
The sudden move drew universal opposition from conservationists and environmentalists. “It’s illegal to touch or mark a tree without obtaining legal clearance. There are several court orders to this effect. The state government’s decision to go ahead with the marking is tantamount to a violation of such rules,” said Leo Saldanha, of Environment Support Group.
Ecologist A N Yellappa Reddy said he had written to the chief minister about the ill effects of the project.
Citizens for Bengaluru, an NGO, has launched a postcard campaign against the marking of the trees. More than 5,000 postcards have been sent to the chief minister.
Curiously, workers marking the trees were clueless about what will be done to them: whether they will be cut down or translocated elsewhere.
“Higher officials will take a call on that once the environmental impact assessment report arrives,” said a senior official in the Karnataka Road Development Limited (KRDL), which has been picked to execute the project.
Vijay Nishanth, a tree expert, warned that the project would uproot more than 2,000 trees.
“Old trees will not survive if they are translocated elsewhere,” he said.