Thiruvananthapuram

Balavihar project faces a green glitch

Lenin Balavihar, a much-loved cultural landmark of the city, recently bagged a development project. It was sanctioned Rs.15 lakh to construct a building for the nursery functioning on its campus.

However, the construction activities have raised concerns among some executive committee members of Balavihar. They fear that the construction of the nursery, behind a ‘koothambalam', will lead to the felling of many trees on the campus, noted for its rich green environs.

The 40-cent campus houses 27 varieties of trees and 16 varieties of herbs. Under this proposal, more than eight trees will have to be felled to make way for JCB and similar machines.

On Wednesday, after a Cassia Fistula ( nadan konna) was cut down, the protesting executive committee members and some environmental activists intervened and stopped further felling of trees.

“We are not opposing the construction of the nursery. It is in fact a much needed initiative. But the nursery can be constructed without felling the trees. Some architects told us that the building can come up in the same site without having to cut trees,” said S. Anita, an executive committee member and daughter of Balavihar founder S. Sharma.

“This campus is one of the few green lungs left in the city. Its biodiversity has made it a favourite hang-out for nature lovers. Some of the trees here were planted by its founder Sharmaji and his botanist wife C. Thankam. A lot of heritage and sentimental value is attached to everything on this campus, including its trees. They need to be protected, not destroyed,” said a regular visitor of the Balavihar campus which also houses the MBS Youth Choir group.

Meanwhile, Balavihar secretary V.R. Janardhanan said that the executive committee had already approved the project proposal, which would be implemented by Nirmithi Kendra.

“The vacant site behind the ‘koothambalam' needs to be properly utilised. But to access this space some trees have to be cut. They will be replaced with new saplings. If we stop construction, the sanctioned funds will lapse,” Mr. Janardhanan said.

The project is being funded by the MP fund of M.P. Achuthan.

He, however, added that the felling of trees would be suspended until a final decision was taken at the next executive committee meeting to be held on Friday.


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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 2:52:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/balavihar-project-faces-a-green-glitch/article2899415.ece

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