Hacked branches lay strewn along the side of the Old-Collectorate-Vanchiyoor road, signalling the start of the road-widening work that was long delayed owing to the opposition by a group of environmentalists. They know that the battle is lost and all that is left for them to do is bid farewell to the 16 arching trees that transformed the stretch into a green corridor.
Tree Walk Trivandrum, a group that was born out of the campaign to protect the trees along this road, has decided to hold an assembly outside the court premises on Saturday. No protest or shouting of slogans with the motive to hinder the ongoing felling process, but a peaceful ‘Farewell, Trees’ walk, observing the three banyan trees and 13 ‘Naadan Konna’ or Cassia fistula trees that will be cut.
During May last year, the first ‘tree walk’ was held along this 300-metre stretch and the group met with hostile opposition from the local residents led by Corporation councillors.
They were branded naïve romantics and tree-huggers driven by esoteric interests. However, they derive solace from the fact that only a portion of the 64 trees marked initially were going to be cut.
“True, there are a few inevitable processes related with urbanisation but we are trying to draw attention to the fact that hardly any policy-making takes into account certain aspects regarding the preservation and cultivation of trees.
Other cities in India, including Pune and Chennai, do have a ‘tree policy’ that acts as some counterforce against indiscriminate felling,” said S. Anitha, one of the conveners of the event.
The harsh summer is proof that the green reserves of the city are fast depleting. The group had carried out an exercise last year, whereby they measured the difference in temperature under cover of the trees at Vanchiyoor and outside. Ms. Anitha said.