Bengaluru

Details of trees to be axed for Namma Metro project in public domain

The trees are on the stretch between BTM Layout and Silk Board Junction.   | Photo Credit: K_MURALI_KUMAR

The two public notices on Monday – one issued by the Karnataka Forest Department and another by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) – have set a precedent of sorts.

For the first time, complete details of trees identified for removal on the stretch between BTM Layout and Silk Board Junction to make way for Reach 5 of Namma Metro is now available in the public domain. This includes their species, condition, girth and location. Citizens can access the information with ease and submit their objections, if any.

Rain trees, Gulmohars, Sihi Hunse, Dalichanda, Bottle Brush and Basri are among the 15 species that will make way for construction of a viaduct and metro stations between R.V. Road and H.S.R. Layout.

The Forest Department has notified the trees that will be affected by extension of the Purple Line near Benniganahalli lake. Peepal, Akash Mallige, Subabul, Peltophorum, Banyan, Bili Kanagalu are among the species in the 91 trees proposed to be removed from the Benniganahalli lake bund area to make way for construction of metro rail structures, road diversion and metro viaduct.

Environmentalist D.T. Devare of the Bangalore Environment Trust, who has filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court, said, “Four permissions for tree felling/transplantation for the metro project were uploaded on the BBMP’s website in October. As petitioners in the ongoing PIL, we were allowed to submit our objections to these permissions. We found out that the list of trees for which permissions was given included some trees for which no proper public notices were issued in the past. This goes against the very object and purpose of involving the public as per the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act 1976.”

He added that the court in its recent order on November 18 held that any question of raising objections will arise only when members of the public are made aware of all the details about the trees proposed to be felled. “Officials were directed to upload the public notice along with the applications made and a description of the trees to be felled, when permission to fell trees was granted, irrespective of whether it requires public consultation or not.”

Hailing the development, Vijay Nishanth, environmentalist, said citizens had to approach various offices earlier to get such details. “Now, all details are available at the click of a button. Citizens can submit their objections, while experts can ascertain if the felling or removal of the trees is really required. This way, afforestation can be planned accordingly,” he said.

BBMP’s Deputy Conservator of Forests Ranganatha Swamy said that details had been uploaded as per the directions of the High Court.

“This is a step towards bringing in transparency. We are now hopeful that members of the public will submit their objections, which will be considered seriously by the authorities and the Tree Expert Committee,” said Mr. Devare.

For details on the trees identified for felling, visit https://bbmp.gov.in/departmentwebsites/Forest%20Department/downloads.html

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 2:18:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/details-of-trees-to-be-axed-for-namma-metro-project-in-public-domain/article33163995.ece

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