BENGALURU: Bengalureans are known not to take the government’s infrastructural projects on the chin if it compromises with the city’s lung space. On Sunday, over a hundred citizens formed a human chain at the HAL bus-stop to protest felling of 60 trees for the upcoming signal-free corridor project on the Old Airport Road.
CM Siddaramaiah’s convoy passed through the protests and sloganeering by nearby residents, who are determined to save the 60 trees which have been marked by the civic authorities to be chopped.
Mr Avijit Michael from an online campaigning organisation, Jhatkaa, said that the government is hardly concerned about environmental issues.
“46 trees have been chopped without any public consultation. No tree committee was formed and the civic authorities have violated the High Court order. Those 46 trees could have been easily translocated, but no steps were taken,” said tree doctor Vijay Nishanth.
Schoolchildren, dressed as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, hugged a tree and said that they expect their elders to save trees for their future.
Mr S.N. Sharma, who served as a deputy general manager at HAL, said that most of the trees that are marked to be down were planted by the HAL. “If you remove one tree, replace it by planting five trees. These trees are as old as 40 years. We need sustainable development, certainly the development the government has envisaged will cost us too much,” he said.
The online petition against felling of trees has garnered around 5,000 signatures, while early on Sunday morning, the campaign to save trees collected 750 signatures. The duo of Mr Mahesh and Mr Shetty said that the old trees should not be cut and the government should find another way to ease traffic congestion in the area. “After cutting, they do not translocate the trees, and their oral promises amount to nothing,” Mr Mahesh said. Displaying the BBMP notice which clearly says that the project will be stopped if citizens protest, Mr Nishanth alleged that the Palike had deliberately tried to hide the pertinent information.