Citizens of Valencia, Kanakanady and Jeppu in Mangalore will tie ribbons to trees in order to save them from the axe, on Saturday evening. The programme will be called “Vraksha Bandhan”.
Eric Ozario, activist and Gurkar (Chief) of the Konkani cultural organisation Mandd Sobann, and resident of Valencia, told presspersons here on Friday that the Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) wanted to cut 43 trees on the stretch between Father Muller Hospital and Nandigudda, for road-widening and concreting.
Clarifying that this was not a religious ceremony, Mr. Ozario said that after a recent protest by people in the area, the MCC officials were giving different versions on their plans to fell the trees.
He said the people would establish an emotional bond with the trees through the programme and pledge to save them. He hoped this would ensure that people would rise against any effort to cut them.
He said a representative of the Citizens Forum for Mangalore’s Development was working with the corporation’s consultant, Dharmaraj, to revise plans to widen the road in an effort to ensure that the ecological concerns of the people were addressed.
A statement issued by Mr. Ozario and Vidya Dinker of the forum said the road between Father Muller Hospital and Nandigudda was the only stretch that had remained green. The citizens were alarmed to learn about the plans to cut the trees. It said later that Mr. Dharmaraj had spoken of the “grand plan” of the corporation to provide a four-lane concrete road on the stretch, but had maintained that immediately, it would build a two-lane concrete road which would not necessitate tree-felling. “However, he was unable to answer why then the trees were marked…,” the statement said.
He urged the people to participate in the Vraksha Bandhan programme. “The trees have been there for us. It is our turn to protect them now,” he added.
Lecturer at Roshni Nilaya School of Social Work Evelyn Bennis was present.