In a depressingly familiar act, a host of mature trees lining the Suranjandas Road have been axed; and more are on the chopping block. These sentinels, which give the Garden City its increasingly ironic nomenclature, are making way for the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike's (BBMP) favourite answer to the city's traffic woes — road widening.
Tree lovers are watching in horror as one fully grown tree after another is being lopped off.
What residents nearby assumed was a tree-pruning exercise turned out to be a full-blown project to fell the trees on the entire stretch. The contractor entrusted with the work said more than 100 trees would go.
The BBMP is calling this “ground work” for widening this road. K.T. Nagaraj, BBMP Superintending Engineer (Major Roads), said the project was a collaboration between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), Bagmane Tech Park (BTP) and the palike.
“HAL is providing the land while BTP and the BBMP are sharing the cost of the project,” Mr. Nagaraj told The Hindu.
However, he allayed fears over the popular tree park maintained by HAL near Jeevanbimanagar saying it would remain intact.
The road in question is a vital link between Old Madras Road and HAL Airport Road, both highly clogged stretches connecting far-flung areas to the city. Suranjandas Road itself sees traffic jams as numerous public sector units (PSUs) such as Bharat Earth Movers Ltd. (BEML), HAL and Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) are located on this road.
Moreover, this road connects several areas such as Jeevanbimanagar, New Thippasandra, C.V. Raman Nagar and Malleshpalya.
Metro gave impetus?
Though there is a long-pending proposal to make this road a four-lane stretch, the year-end deadline of Namma Metro's Reach-1 seems to have given an impetus to the project as the Byappanahalli Metro Depot is within hailing distance from this road. M. Krishnappa, Deputy Conservator of Forests, BBMP, defended the tree felling as essential to widen the road to improve connectivity between the nearby metro station and HAL Airport Road. “Everything has been planned: lost greenery will definitely be replaced,” he said.
The chopped trees have been auctioned off and replanting on the road will be done by the next monsoon.