KARNATAKA

Road to be widened without axing trees

Taking decisions: MUDA Commissioner P.C. Jayanna (left) and MCC Commissioner K.S. Raykar at the meeting in Mysore on Monday.

Taking decisions: MUDA Commissioner P.C. Jayanna (left) and MCC Commissioner K.S. Raykar at the meeting in Mysore on Monday.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM

Staff Correspondent

MUDA and MCC have also agreed to develop a cycle track on Lalitha Mahal Road



Decision comes in the wake of a meeting with representatives of NGOs and greens

‘Outer Ring Road should get the highest priority since it reduces traffic and minimises accidents’



MYSORE: In a significant development, the Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) and the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) on Monday took a unanimous decision to widen Lalitha Mahal Road in Narasimharaja Boulevard here without chopping down trees.

They have also agreed to develop a cycle track on the road.

The decision comes in the wake of their meeting with representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and environmentalists, who suggested various measures to ease traffic congestion and reduce accidents without axing 114 trees.

The environmentalists, NGOs and citizens had launched an active campaign against tree felling following axing of over 30 trees on the road by a frenzied mob recently. They also vowed to keep the heritage of the boulevard alive without allowing the authorities to cut the trees.

Suggestions

MCC Commissioner K.S. Raykar and MUDA Commissioner P.C. Jayanna elicited suggestions from the NGOs at the meeting. Officials of the Forest and Police departments also attended the meeting.

Initiating the discussion, Mr. Raykar gave an overview of the road widening project under the Rs. 100-crore special grant and explained its status.

He said that Monday’s meeting had been convened to explore possibilities of resolving the issue amicably as suggested by Minister for Urban Development and Law Suresh Kumar, who was here recently. It may be mentioned here that a mob went berserk and chopped over 30 trees following the death of a Mysore City Corporation employee in a hit-and-run accident.

Bhamy V. Shenoy of the Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) said that the reason for the accident should not be attributed to traffic on the road.

He said that the authorities should explore other alternatives to ease traffic density instead of chopping trees to widen the road. The Outer Ring Road should get the highest priority since it reduces traffic and minimises accidents. Widening of the road opposite Teresian College is another alternative and the police should fix speed limits to check accidents, he suggested.

Convener of the Association of Concerned and Informed Citizens of Mysore M. Lakshman said that the road could be widened keeping the trees intact.

About 10 to 12 trees could be cut, if necessary, at the junctions along the road which are “accident zones”. Otherwise, with land available along the road, it could be widened without felling trees, he said.

He said that traffic should be restricted in a radius of 1 km around the Mysore zoo and it could be diverted to adjoining roads to ease pressure on Lalitha Mahal Palace Road. If trees were cut, birds migrating to nearby Karanji Lake would also be under threat, he said.

Retired chief engineer (Surface Transport) H.R. Bapu Satyanarayana said, “It is easy to fell trees, but tough to grow them. Therefore, other options available to ease traffic congestion on the stretch should be explored.”

He suggested one-way roads, speed breakers, fixing speed limits, diversion of traffic to adjoining roads, completion of Ring Road and widening of Bannur Road as the alternatives to widening the road. His views were echoed by other participants.

Advocate Bhaskar sought an explanation for the delay in booking the persons who felled the trees following the accident.

A forest official said that about 92 valuable neem trees, which could be over 40 years old, were located on the road. “They are old trees and need protection,” the official said.

Recommended for you