Bengaluru: Bengalureans may have scored a victory recently over the government in saving hundreds of more trees from biting the dust for the controversial steel flyover project, but the city has already suffered a massacre of nearly 18,000 of its trees over the last nine years in the name of development.
Going by an abstract prepared by the BBMP forest department, 15,124 trees have been felled for development projects and 2,840 for Namma Metro in this time. In all, as many as 17,964 trees have been cut between 2008-09 and 2016-17 to make way for flyovers, road widening and other projects.
As many as 11,731 trees were cut at the request of the public and people's representatives because they were decayed and unstable. And nearly 35,220 tree branches were chopped off in the same period because they either came in the way of development projects or were leaning dangerously on streetlight poles.
Although the BBMP claims it is planting trees on a large scale to compensate for the loss, it doesn't seem to have made much of a difference as going by a joint survey of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the Indian Institute of Science in 2014 the city , which was home to about 40 lakh trees four decades ago, is left with only 14.78 lakh now.
Responding to claims by the BBMP that it has planted seven lakh trees from 2010-11 to 2015-16 in all eight zones of the city at a cost of Rs 18.79 crore, green activists point out that mere planting of trees cannot help. "They need to be nurtured to survive," they stress.
While the civic agency's record on this front is dubious, it continues to threaten more of the city's green cover with projects like the Jayamahal road widening, placing Bengaluru's future as a Garden City at even greater risk.
Vanishing green cover
17,964 - Total number of tree cut for development projects
35,220 - Total number of branches chopped
15,124 - Total number of trees cut for development projects
2,840 - Total number of trees cut for Namma Metro project
11,731 - Total number of trees cut following public/public representatives request