A staggering 3,559 trees are set to be cut down to facilitate five civil projects in the city. More than 90% of the trees will be felled for road-widening or road-building projects in southern Bengaluru.
An expert committee on Friday began an inspection to examine tree-felling proposals submitted by three different government agencies.
The committee was formed by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on a high court order.
The proposals include cutting down a whopping 1,822 trees for roadworks between NICE Road and Magadi Road as part of a larger two-laning project taken up by the Karnataka State Highways Improvement Project (KSHIP).
The Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) has sought the clearing of 1,116 trees for widening roads in Anekal, Yelahanka and KR Puram. Added to this is the request for felling 377 trees for widening a part of National Highway 209.
The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has proposed the cutting down of 115 trees in UM Kaval for building the Anjanapura depot as well as the connecting line and the clearing of 129 trees in the Kadugodi plantation area for building stations for the Whitefield metro line.
Several metro projects are already behind schedule because environmentalists have gone to court, accusing the BMRCL of not following the due procedure before cutting the trees.
Officials said the expert committee, which would submit a report next week, would focus on the ways to mitigate the damage to the environment and the possibility of translocating the trees.
An environmental activist, however, insisted that the committee must first look into the “illegal” destruction of the environment in Bengaluru Rural. “The BBMP has made a tactical move to limit the survey and inspection to Bengaluru Urban. Hundreds of trees have been cut and no compensatory afforestation has been taken up in areas like Sarjapur but they are kept out of the exercise,” he said.
To a question, a forest official agreed that the areas in Bengaluru Rural should also be assessed.
“Those areas are practically part of core Bengaluru. The damage to nature is the same regardless of the division. It’s up to the government to decide on this,” he stated.