Metro connectivity has expanded over the years, but at the cost of Bengaluru’s green cover. For the 42 km network under Phase I, 2,336 trees were axed. For phase II of Namma Metro, work on which is currently underway, 3,027 trees have been felled for the 72 km stretch. In addition to this, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) has marked more than 4,000 trees for removal to build the 58 km Airport line.
While it has taken up compensatory afforestation initiatives, BMRCL is also contemplating adopting the Miyawaki model to increase the green cover. Pioneered by Japanese botanist and ecologist Akira Miyawaki, the technique allows for growing dense forests comprising native trees on small patches of land. One of the ways this is done is by ensuring that tree growth is faster than traditional afforestation methods.
Divya Hosur, general manager (IT and Social and Environmental Management), BMRCL, said that they will use technical expertise through an automobile company that has successfully implemented Miyawaki in Bidadi. “BMRCL has identified land available in Mahalakshmi Layout, Peenya depot and KIADB Aerospace Park for taking up Miyawaki forestry. This is an additional effort to increase the green cover by the BMRCL,” she said. The project is likely to be implemented in the coming monsoon season.
Regular afforestation is already underway with BMRCL planting 10 saplings for each tree removed. Officials claim that they have already planted 60,000 saplings as compensatory afforestation across 25 locations in the city including defence land in Iblur, Karahalli and others, campuses of government-owned organisations such as KMF and layouts such as Nadaprabhu Kempegowda and lake bunds, to name a few.
₹9.6 crores spent to improve forest cover
Ms. Hosur said that BMRCL has spent ₹9.6 crore to plant saplings and translocate trees. It will maintain the saplings for a period of three years. “Our aim is to achieve a 90% survival rate,” she added.In both phase I and Phase II, the BMRCL has so far translocated 817 trees. Officials claim that about 60% of the trees have survived the stress of translocation.“The survival rate may increase in the coming days as the gestation period in some species takes six to seven months,” said Ms. Hosur. The cost of translocating a single tree ranges from ₹18,000 to ₹20,000.