100 trees in Kodagu axed, all for CM’s 1-day visit

Workers remove the branches of axed trees.

 The Deputy Commissioner, Kodagu district, has issued orders to axe “dangerous trees,” keeping the chief minister’s visit on July 19 in mind.

The orders have been issued on Tuesday morning and by evening, the administration brought down around 100 first-generation trees. This has not gone down well with forest department officials and local residents.

The order said since Kumaraswamy is visiting Kodagu, there is a need to ensure his safety. There is also a need to station a fire safety vehicle near the venue and the place where he will stay.

It said trees lurking dangerously should be removed. Orders were issued to ensure sufficient boats are arranged as the chief minister will visit by boat areas in Bhagamanadala and Talacauvery. Roads cannot be accessed because of the showers.

While the order stated that a survey needs to be conducted along with the forest department officials, it has not been done. “We were not consulted and no survey was done to identify dangeous trees. All those which the authorities thought were bent because of strong winds have been brought down. Madikeri is called the Scotland of India, it is the region where Cauvery river originates. Already there is a lot of damage to the green belt in Madikeri in the guise of roads and tourism, this is just adding to it,” said a forest department official.

Col C P Muthanna, president of Coorg Wildlife Society, said not just the safety of the chief minister, but that of citizens is also important. Many trees have fallen in the last few days because of strong wind and rain. Instead of chopping all trees, a proper survey should have been conducted and those leaning could have been tied to a support.

Boppaiah, a local resident, said, “We have made many requests to the DC to ensure our safety, but that has not been addressed. For a few hours of visit by the chief minister, scores of trees are being cut. The order clearly states that dangerous trees are to be identified. But trees are being axed in haste. This clearly indicates the hand of the timber lobby.”

Sreevidya P I, Kodagu Deputy Commissioner, said her orders had been misinterpreted and that she had ordered only for pruning the trees. She also said that axing of “dangerous trees” was under way to prevent any eventuality due to the adverse weather conditions.

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