Over a thousand trees on Outer Ring Road may be felled to make way for the one section of the 58-km airport metro line. The Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) with Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), who is also the tree officer, has given the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) permission to fell 1,334 trees from Kasturi Nagar to Kempapura that are on the alignment of the elevated stretch of the metro line. Ironically, the trees had been planted as saplings between 2005-2006 on the median of the Outer Ring Road as part of green urban initiative.
Hundreds of saplings had been planted that year. Now, after a gap of over 15 years, they are likely to make way for the ORR- Airport metro line. To compensate for the loss of green cover, the BMRCL has been directed to plant saplings in land belonging to the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) in Hebbal and the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board’s Defence and Aerospace Park.
The DCF had given permission to BMRCL to remove trees in an order issued on March 10. However, the final sanction letter will be issued only after the High Court decides on the issue.
The order issued by the DCF also states that in addition to the 1,334 trees, another 26 trees that were initially identified for removal must be retained on site while 160 will be translocated.
After receiving applications for removal of over 1,500 trees on the 10 to 11-km stretch on ORR, the DCF had issued a public notice for which 239 objections and suggestions were received. Govindaraju, DCF, said: “The Forest Department had planted saplings 15 years ago to increase the green cover and now they are making way for the metro project. The BMRCL had initially submitted an application for the removal of 1,507 trees.”
Among the suggestions and objections received, many citizens had asked for the metro alignment to be changed while others wanted BMRCL to make it an underground stretch.
To build the 58-km metro line from Central Silk Board to the Kempegowda International Airport, the BMRCL is likely to remove 5,000 trees.
On the 19-km line stretch from Central Silk Board to K.R. Puram, the BMRCL has received permission for the removal of trees. On the stretch from Central Silk Board to Kodibeesanahalli (package 1), the BMRCL will fell 577 trees and translocate 212 trees. Under package 2 from Kodibeesanahalli to K.R. Puram, 542 trees will be axed and 484 translocated. The BMRCL has already initiated the process of translocating the trees.