Bengaluru: The tall claims of the State Government about sustainable development seem to be only on the paper because, despite knowing that the Silk Board junction is one of the highly polluted areas in the city, as per the data by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), it has granted permission to axe 28 trees in the area.
The BBMP has directed the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) to translocate 250 trees, out of 500 which is expected to be chopped to pave the way for the construction of new metro line towards Electronics City.
However, Vijay Nishanth, tree doctor, said, “Out of 28 trees, 10 have been felled and not a single tree was translocated. The area where trees have been axed was the only green spot near the Silk Board junction.”
Under Phase 1 of the Namma Mero, hardly nine trees were replanted, when more than 2,500 were cut down.
“Most appalling thing on the government’s part is that they do not have a tree committee. The soaring temperature and the lack of rainfall are the signs of environmental damage done to the city, which was well known for trees and greenery,” Nishanth added.
In February, BBMP claimed that it was working with the Institute of Wood Science and Technology to relocate trees. Moreover, trees above 25 years of age, do not survive translocation.
“The past result of the translocation proves that the success rate of the same is only 20%-30%. We lack latest technologies. Replanting can only be of some use if the trees axed down are planted nearby as the birds nesting on some of the trees will lose their habitat which will have a disastrous impact on ecology,” said Harish, former deputy mayor.
Nishanth believes that had trees been relocated, the city would not faced ecological impacts. “There is no proper census of trees with the authorities. I want to know the whereabouts of the crore of saplings being planted by the forest department,” he further said. Assistant Conservator of Forests (BBMP forest cell) Ratna Prabha felt helpless on not being left with choice, but to axe the trees.
“I am not justifying the chopping of trees, but one is hardly left with any choice when Metro is coming up in the same alignment where trees are planted. However, translocation will not disturb the ecosystem,” she added.
Harish lamented the stalling of noble initiative Project Vruksha and alleged there was corruption behind the move.
“Rs 2 crore was allotted to this project, but it was not utilised. Saving the green cover has never been the priority of the civic authorities; they are here to make money,” he remarked.