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Thursday, April 09, 2020

Bengaluru: Students, academicians urge CM to step in as plan to cut 8,200 trees for road projects face stiff opposition

The trees are to be chopped for road widening, and for construction of new bridges and elevated roads in areas such as Bannerghatta, Sarjapur, Mandur, Anekal, and Whitefield.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bangalore | Published: February 28, 2020 11:54:25 am
bangalore plan to cut trees, bangalore protest against tree cutting, 8200 trees to be cut down bengaluru, bangalore traffic solutions, bengaluru roads, bangalore news, bengaluru news, indian express A human chain protest was led by students against the proposal in Bengaluru last week. (Photo: Special arrangement)

Students, researchers and faculty members from over 30 educational institutes in Bengaluru Friday urged Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa to save over 8,000 city trees, set to be axed by the Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL).

According to the petition signed by 185 citizens, air pollution has risen drastically in Bengaluru, with construction dust, garbage burning and the rise in private vehicles worsening matters.

The petition alleges that the KRDCL has been working in a ‘non-transparent manner’. “The KRDCL has not published any information about the project — neither did it follow the due process for the conduct of the Public Consultation,” the petition points out.

According to KRDCL data, over 8,200 trees are to be cut down for various projects, including road widening and construction of new bridges and elevated roads in areas such as Bannerghatta, Sarjapur, Mandur, Anekal, and Whitefield.

The petitioners also called for an immediate halt of tree-cutting, accessible and timely public consultations, and transparency in such works in the future.

“We believe that it will be in the best interests of residents that Bengaluru, identified as a major internal migration city and facing pressures of water crisis and warming temperatures, should expand in an ecologically sustainable fashion,” the letter says.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, Simranjt Singh, a law student who is also a member of the National Law School Environment Group, said several environmentalists and citizen activists had filed RTIs in January and earlier this month to get more information on the proposed project.

“However, a response to these queries is still awaited. Once we get KRDCL’s reply, we will try to take the matter to the Karnataka High Court or to the National Green Tribunal,” Singh said.

Several protests and demonstrations have been held in the city since the first week of February opposing the tree-cutting. However, the government is yet to react to these.

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