Greens protest tree felling in Bangalore

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: Protests by environmental groups and their activists continued on Saturday demanding withdrawal of permission for cutting down close to 700 trees on roadsides across the city. Their immediate concern is for the scores of trees on Residency Road, due to be felled because they "obstruct traffic."

Joining the protestors on Residency Road were celebrities such as actress-singer Vasundhara Das.

There were protests earlier this week which forced the BMP staff to halt the axing of trees on that road.

Leo F. Saldanha of the city-based Environment Support Group (ESG) said the Bangalore Task Force on Traffic Management, which has asked the trees to be cut down, should reconsider its decision. "Roadside trees are part of the city's heritage, provide relief to the city's microclimate and help pedestrians walk in shade," he said.

The ESG said it had contacted the Deputy Conservator of Forests (Urban) and was surprised to learn it had no official communication yet about the plan to cut down the 700 trees.

The Forest Department's permission is normally necessary even to fell trees on private premises.

The ESG has planned to meet the Principal Secretary, Home and Transport, Brahm Dutt, and represent the case for saving the trees. Owners of shops and establishments along Residency Road and local residents have said it may be enough if some branches overhanging the road are cut and they need not be felled altogether.

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