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KRDCL not to axe more trees, thanks to Karnataka HC intervention

Over 2,300 trees have been felled for various road projects on the outskirts of the city in different forest ranges
Last Updated 07 March 2021, 21:50 IST

Having felled more than 2,300 trees for road-widening work, the Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) was on its way to clear nearly 7,500 more.

But it was stopped by the Karnataka High Court, which looked into the claim that the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act will not apply to the road-widening projects on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

A report by the committee of experts from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Gandhi Krishi Vigyana Kendra (GKVK), has thrown light on the number of trees destroyed in the city outskirts. The committee was set up following the high court’s order to look into the projects taken up by the KRDCL.

As per the report, 2,347 trees have been felled for various road projects on the outskirts of the city in different forest ranges, including KR Puram, Yelahanka, Devanahalli, Nelamangala, Doddaballapura, Malleswaram and Ramanagara.

The expert committee has studied details of every tree on the six stretches of the roads being widened by the KRDCL and reduced the number of trees to be felled to 30% of the previous approval.

While the Forest Department had allowed the felling of 5,297 trees, the expert committee has brought the number down to 1,721.

The committee has increased the number of trees to be retained and translocated after extensive field visits and assessments.

“The committee members have walked several kilometres every day for a detailed assessment of trees. Many trees could be saved due to the detailed assessment,” a source said.

The court ordered the census after the Bangalore Environment Trust filed an application to implead KRDCL in an ongoing writ petition on tree felling. Though KRDCL contended that the Tree Act was notified for the BBMP limits and would not apply to the areas outside the city, the court ordered the GKVK to consider the possibility of saving trees as the agency has failed to do so.

Interestingly, the Forest Department had registered an FIR against a KRDCL engineer for felling trees meant for translocation.

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(Published 07 March 2021, 21:16 IST)

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