Sainikpuri residents plan ‘chipko’ movement to save trees

They plan to hug the trees and mourn what they term as ‘brutal pruning and/or uprooting’ that had taken place in Sainikpuri park area

Updated - January 04, 2024 07:39 am IST

Published - January 03, 2024 09:40 am IST - HYDERABAD

Trees were pruned without permission to create a tennis court complex at a park in Sainikpuri.

Trees were pruned without permission to create a tennis court complex at a park in Sainikpuri. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Unauthorised tampering with green spaces has earned the ire of the concerned residents in the Sainikpuri area, who have resolved to fight against the actions of the residents’ cooperative society.

A few residents have given a call for ‘chipko’ action on January 7, where they plan to hug the trees and mourn what they term as ‘brutal pruning and/or uprooting’ that had taken place in Sainikpuri park area.

“We also propose to ask for volunteers to conduct a tree census and photograph, and number and geotag trees in the wider Sainikpuri area,” informed Manognya Reddy, a resident.

She, along with Shankar Melkote and Susie Tharu is protesting the unauthorised hacking of branches in Sainikpuri Park on Second Avenue as well as the loss of green cover in an open space close to the First Avenue.

They attribute both actions to the Armed Forces Officers Co-operative Housing Society (AFOCHS) which sought to create a ‘National Standard Tennis Court Complex’ in the park area, which would constitute three clay courts.

“Initially when they mooted the idea, there was a lot of opposition. Later, they called for the General Body meeting, where they said the tennis court complex was being ‘donated’, and will be maintained by the society. Senior citizens opposed it at the meeting too, but as the meeting was a day long affair, many of them could not stay through it. The resolution was passed without much resistance in the end,” Manognya Reddy said.

After the resolution got through, the management committee swung into action, and started chopping off branches of the trees in the park to make way for the tennis court. Also, a concrete barrier was created inside to divert the rainwater, which goes against the norms observed in case of GHMC parks.

Susie Tharu also pointed out that large branches of trees were hacked in quite an unprofessional manner in the open area close to her house, where the shrubbery was removed and land was levelled to allow archery practice.

“They are bulldozing all our objections to carry out their mission, which is unacceptable. We have taken inspiration from the fight for Chevella Banyans, in order to protect our trees,” Manognya Reddy said.

Office bearers of the AFOCHS refused to provide any explanation about the violation. Oral permission was taken from the GHMC’s zonal commissioner for the tennis court, and branches were pruned in the presence of the Horticulture officials, they said, refusing to go on record.

GHMC’s Urban Biodiversity officials, who submitted a report after conducting site inspection, mentioned that weed growth and waste dump were removed from the open space and tree branches were pruned at both locations. They quoted the Secretary of the AFOCHS Rekha Bayankar who apparently said they had permission from the Zonal Commissioner.

The Chief Horticulture Officer, of Urban Biodiversity, Sunanda said she alerted the District Forest Officer of Medchal about the violation. Zonal Commissioner, LB Nagar, S. Pankaja was not available for comment.

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