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Sankey Road Trees Chopped-off overnight after a secret auction

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Sadly and expectedly BBMP has gone ahead and done what its best at. It has in a unilateral, self-serving, authoritarian manner chopped off 17 of the 19 beautiful trees on Sankey Road starting as early as 1:30 am on Friday morning before a stay could be obtained on the remaining 2 trees by 6pm.

The reasoning of the BBMP, Local Councillors and Police would probably have been that the green activists and Members of Malleswaram Swabhimaana Sangha would cry hoarse for a few days at best, but immediate money could be made in collusion with the Timber mafia and ofcourse the panacea of all traffic problems in Bangalore - "Road Widening", could be realised on Sankey Road.

Full article here http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Bangalore/article2151390.ece

In a rare gesture and in the interest of time, high court judges visited the spot in a personal vehicle and ascertained the location and the geography before passing the order but it was too late by the time a stay could be obtained.

It just might be too late before our councillors and corporators realise what they are doing/have done to Bangalore. Sigh!

p.s. The learned "authorities" at BBMP might even start using the latest Digital Media act to prevent protests in the online medium, just like they arrested 12 protesters at the site on friday. Praja admins, watchout and welcome to the newest Banana republic fellow PrajegaLu!

Comments

Vasanth's picture

Deputy Mayor Harish Playing Key Role

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While former Mayor Sandeshswamy and other  BJP counsellers assured there will be no road widening, current deputy mayor Harish took keen interest in this and also played a double game. He got  the auction done in a remote place overnight and told the reporters that the protesters were protesting in the morning, but agreed with him in the evening to play that he is innocent.

Despite of so many protests, and a pending case in the court, trees were chopped off. Question raises here is why is Mr. Harish so keen in this? There is something in it for him , either in Timber Mafia or in contracts for Road Widening. Can there be any Lokayukta investigation on the same? Offenders in BBMP who were responsible for this, violating the court should never be spared.

What is opposition party MLCs, MLAs and MPs doing? What is our ex-Priminister Mr. Devegowda doing? If big hand opposition MLAs and MPs would have joined the fight, definitely, something could have been done. Atleast, now, will the opposition leaders take any stand in getting an investigation done and punishing the offenders.

 

 

rs's picture

What a shame !

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Clearly the urgeny and surreptitousness of the whole operation strongly suggests that there were other factors at work - not only the desire of BBMP to get the job  done quickly for the sake of the citizens - as they might claim. It is really, really unfortunate. Its a very sad day for Bangalore. In spite of such large scale and high profile protests nothing could be done. It shows that the system is completely rotten. We have an ineffectual mayor, a terribly corrupt BBMP who have shown complete disregard to the law and a police system that is not able to enforce the law - except when it comes to suppressing the voice of the people. What a shame !

The worst thing about this is that it is completely clear that this will have absolutely no effect on the traffic. The source of the problem is the signal Bhasyam circle and this will have no effect on that.

Ramesh

 

silkboard's picture

Shameful

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Absolutely shameful going by the reports and second hand info on this whole saga. Traffic density data collected by citizens was dismissed because it didn't have signature or stamp of an authorized agency. There is no public document from BBMP that shows any sort of traffic plan post road widening (at least I haven't seen one). And let us forget about any "goals" for this widening exercise (like" vehicle movement from Point A to point B should go up by X") that BBMP or greens can use later to see if they were met by this widening.

Lose-lose is the best phrase one can use to describe BBMP's approach on this project.

Bengloorappa's picture

Shameful and disgusting

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There also seems to be a concerted effort(a sleazy trick) that had been used with success and has been seen in the past with protests in front of Mantri square mall wherein organised gangs attack the venue and hurl choicest abuses at the ladies assembled at the protest spot.

This to a large extent creates disgust and prevents them from participating fearing their own safety. There was a platoon of KSRP on the spot and the entire Vyalikaval police station there who just waited for the opportunity to crack down on the protesters instead of providing protection to the ladies when this was happening.
Apparently these men were BJP activists mobilized either by MLA Ashwath Narayana or Deputy Mayor Harish. I hope Malleshwaram residents remember what was done to them and pay back in the same coin when his party comes calling at their door next elections. We need to go a long way in organising civilised protests.

idontspam's picture

Goonda raj

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pls RT all of my tweets. there is a strong possibility of us getting roughed up by BJP rowdies. #sankeyroadwidening via @nikhilv on twitter

This is how sad it is getting, the way our elected representatives convince us of what is good for us.

Bengloorappa's picture

BBMP by passes town planning committee!

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According to Deccan Herald - "In its hurry to widen the Sankey Tank Bund Road, the BBMP has bypassed its own standing committee on town planning.
Moreover, the BWSSB is yet to be informed through official channels about the plan, though its two major water supply lines pass through the stretch proposed to be widened - at Bhashyam Circle and the road leading to Vyalikaval."


and this one takes the cake with Ananth Kumar trying to calm down the protesters of Malleswaram - "BJP MP Ananth Kumar on Saturday condemned the felling of 19 trees for the proposed Sankey Road widening project and use of police force against the residents protesting the Palike’s move."
 

Full article here - http://www.deccanherald.com/content/173330/palike-bypasses-town-planning-panel.html


A classic exaample of BJP Palike authorities & MLA's pinching the baby while the BJP top-brass try to pacify it. If Ananth Kumar really wants to pay back Bangalore for being elected time and again as MP, he should get Yediyurappa to focus a bit more on administration instead of being busy releasing booklets on his political rivals. (As if Ananth Kumar lashes the whip and BJP Karnataka will take notice! - just wishful thinking).
However there are only two years to go for BJP and its probably time to woo the urban Bangalore voter again before the next election - oh wait, we-the-public have very short memory span, don't we ?

 

 

Sanjeev's picture

Why BBMP was so much in hurry & not with MANTRI Developer

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What was the hurry to do this and why  r they doing behaving like goonda.

When it comes to Developers,  they take yrs to do it.  

Has BBMP  / BDA completed service roads complet Ring Road where land is already available with them and their r no trees to fell.  Here they do not have any urgency.

I feel its Sadhashivnagar high profile residence would have forced to do this as lot trafffic gets diverted thru residential area.  Same was the case with Kaveri Junction  ill-planed BLACK MAGIC BOX underpass where the same residence have  got it done so that they get signal free corridor to city.

Thats reason you can see that statment Sadhashivnagar Reisdence are not opposing and its Malleshwaram Residence are opposing.

MaheshK's picture

Should have included experts from IISc

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"In a letter to BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah, the Hasiru Usiru activists and others have alleged that Puttaswamy abused his powers by ordering the felling of 19 trees along Sankey Road ‘without conforming to any law or procedure as laid down in the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act, the Karnataka State Forest Act, the Karnataka Forest Manual and the Karnataka State Transparency Act, among others, and is thus guilty of corruption’."

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/173329/dcf-auctioned-trees-illegally.html

I think the DH article pretty much covers the underhand dealings.

BBMP could have enlisted IISc (which is less than a km away)  help to decide on Sankey rd widening. Also for the CNR Rao circle underpass infront of IISc gate.  There are experts in IISc who are willing to help if asked.

 

silkboard's picture

bengloorappa, about votes

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@Bengloorappa, I can tell you that you are wrong about using this (don't widen Sankey Road) to have majority of residents vote against BJP MLA. What I hear is that most residents support such widening. They need to be educated about how widening doesn't help. Not their fault, because that is how anyone (a regular, lost in day to day commute, not so aware citizen) would look to solve congestion problems.

Greens may not like it, but this is how things stand today. No political party would come and say "I will ensure no roads are widened" because they know such a stand would not ensure them much votes.

There seems to be a need to alter the way we all (the aware folks, who probably know these widenings may not help) approach these situations. May be a case study of some section that was widened, perhaps a report with fictional study of Sankey Road itself with simulations, some high profile technical document is needed as a "tool in hand" to go around and win support on either BBMP's or citizen's sides.

idontspam's picture

 What I hear is that most

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 What I hear is that most residents support such widening. 

That is the organized crowd. Indeed there may be a few people who believe seeing a particular spot like the bashyam circle that it is in need of bandaid. because the bandaid has been sold to them as prevention. I think we need to talk more about prevention. The larger picture of how do you justify widening when existing bandwidths are not being maximized and also about improper engineering practices, about the lack of basics like tight lanes, variable sized carriageways without appropriate channelizing of traffic, introducing turn lanes (not the bottle traps & nahni traps masquerading as turn lanes), removing parking from PT streets, providing business & residential access to only local & collector streets etc

Ravi_D's picture

And today...

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... RWA's are out (per this DH Article)  to show support to widen the streets.

What a drama. Shame on us.

 

Ravi_D's picture

It is not just education

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If 5 year olds are able to understand that cutting trees is a crime, 50 year olds don't have an excuse.

Education cetrainly has its value, but I think our self centered ways are also equally important. If I'd rather trade green canopy to avoid 'wasting' a few extra minutes in my sedan, I stink as an individual. If the majority thinks the same, you get our kind of society, our governance system - and the whole city stinks.

silkboard's picture

Right Ravi, majority does think the same

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Ravi, we may not like it, but the majority does think that way (nobody would say in public, who would say cutting trees is okay, just do an anonymous survey, results may surprise)

  1. My commute (my 15 extra minutes) is more important than few trees.
  2. Life is all about living inside concrete walls, driving on concrete to and from another set of concrete walls. Nothing else matters. (parks, trees, recreational space, pavements)
  3. I want more and more private space (cars, private compounds)

We hate sharing anything, and avoid spending time on anything that doesn't fit in #2 above.

Show me a well documented, well popularized case study on any road of Bangalore that shows or proves that road widening doesn't help. I haven't seen any.

Show me a well prepared even if half-ass masterplan that shows how we could ease congestion without widening (and cutting trees in the process) so many roads. None that I can remember readily.

Above two can be prepared by us, or we could push government or BBMP to prepare one. Without "publicity around quality proof or content", I think these tactical struggles around a road here and a tree there would continue to be painful.

Bengloorappa's picture

SB, I meant...

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@SB, I meant the ill treated protesters and their friends, relatives from Malleshwaram constituency should carry their grudge into the elections and remind the MLA in kind during his door-to-door campaign. I am frothing at just the idea.

I can only nod in agreement about the general public' feeling about road widening.
Why, one of the argument put forward to road widening is its ornamental value! - as per an earlier post about the agitation in front of Mantri square, BJP activists/local residents supporting the MLA and road widening were heard saying that Malleshwaram residents wanted nice and wide roads in front of their own houses but not in front of others'.

Could we do a Praja campaign in association with local newspapers to put our impartial views on road widening as a first-step ?

 

MaheshK's picture

Photo explains it all

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http://www.deccanherald.com/content/173505/twist-road-widening-tale.html

How do you spell Prevent? See the spelling in the photo. It is spelled Privent. That shows what kind of crowd they are. It's all staged. I think the guy standing next to the auto is a BJP party worker. I have seen him in Malleswaram area.    

Ravi_D's picture

I agree. We should be

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I agree. We should be demanding to see the real master plan.

There needs to be a discussion on legacy and character of (and quality of life in) the city, and making it better or at least preserving it for the future. Development is not a one way street, unless we decide to make it one for our own convinience.

 

But I can almost guarantee that such a master plan effort will be set so it costs us a few hundread crores, and will already be outdated by the time it is delivered in the next decade.

I was a bit optimistic when the 'elected body' debate was on here. One where we complained BBMP is without elected reps thingy. Did our voice gather any more strength since? 

idontspam's picture

 It's all staged. It has been

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 It's all staged.

It has been staged in all the meetings. They are there to outshout you. They are politicians, how long will it take for them to organize a crowd of rabble rousers? 

idontspam's picture

But I can almost guarantee

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But I can almost guarantee that such a master plan effort will be set so it costs us a few hundread crores, and will already be outdated by the time it is delivered in the next decade.

Here is a simple way to start the planning process. Because if you cant set targets you cant measure progress. Lets see if the PIL can include these modal share targets, I have sent this thread as an input. 

rs's picture

Such a farce !

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Clearly this support of road widening is a complete sham. And this nonsense about `Widen road to prevent accidents' - its something the deputy mayor has been harping about. Its completely meaningless - there havent been any accidents on Sankey road - just delays. There may have been some fender benders thanks to the idiots who drive on the wrong side of the road and then try to squeeze in before the divider starts - but they deserve to be shot.

Ramesh

 

kbsyed61's picture

Hypocracy at its height!

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Source - Deccan Herald

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/173775/at-environment-day-event-acharya.html

"Speaking at a World Environment Day event, he said: “There is obviously a need to widen the road to accommodate the increasing traffic. If people want the road to be widened and also the trees to remain, then it is like saying you want to have the cake and eat it too.”

Acharya said the trees existed because of the road and not the other way around and people should not oppose the cutting of trees. “We can plant more saplings later. The road widening should go on,” he said...."

"...The Minister, however, cautioned people not to destroy the environment and to protect the resources. “Modernisation, greed and commerce have led to the destruction of the environment. There should be sustainable development,” the Minister said..."

Support for cutting trees and saving environment, all in one breadth.

Well said minister. Now wonder you belong to party with difference.

Vasanth's picture

Pro road widening protestors from nearby poor colony

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All the pro road widening protestors were from nearby poor colony. I think the Dy. Mayor had assured some 'food' after the protests. No one in the group looked like educated and had no proper leaders.

Accidents will start after road widening, speed on the stretch will increase and only to wait in the next junction. Rashing cab drivers, car drivers will not allow pedestrains to cross the road.

idontspam's picture

Sankey - Subir Roy in BS

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Beautiful piece by Subir Roy in Business Standard

For India or any other country, the need to take the road of sustainable development should be self-evident... But too many venal and semi-literate politicians, officials and a public often unaware or unconcerned about the public good prevent the right choices from being made

Read more

idontspam's picture

Not 19 but 300 trees to be chopped

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BBMP, which claimed that only 19 trees would be felled for widening the controversial Sankey Tank Bund Road, was saying only a half-truth. An estimate puts the number of trees being chopped at 300, along the road next to the tank. 

Source

Vasanth's picture

Nice Article - Cars vs Trees

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Thanks IDS for posting nice article. Cars vs Trees is the right phrase. Lots of Indians, especially returning NRIs, have mostly lived in the US. They get addicted to US lifestyle, with husband driving a car, wife driving another car, teenage kid driving a car, in other words one car per person. When they return back to India, they want to continue the same lifestyle even in India. This has resulted in so many cars, especially in Eastern Portion of Bangalore where these NRIs settle down little closer to the office. Apart from that, current youth trend is inclined towards Big fancy cars. 

Restriction of cars especially in Central Business District in a radius of say 5 kms from Vidhana Soudha is a must.. Sankey Road, Sampige Road, MG Road, Cubbon Road will come in this category. What we need is a congestion charging policy introduced nation wide (make it IRC norms for congestion charging).

Also parking fees should increase. Even IT companies should charge parking fees. School and College kids who do not earn money are charged parking fees even for bicycles., whereas IT staff who earn handsomely are not charged for parking fees. SEZ policies put the companies on the outskirts making employees to drive all over the city. Same SEZ policy should restrict cars entering the offices by imposing heavy parking fees.

When it comes to Sankey Road, traffic volume is no where compared to East Bangalore such as the BTM Layout / Old Madras road which itself is untouched due to properties on either sides. A semi literate elected representive who do not have any thoughts and vision has resulted in severe loss of Greenery to Bangalore. Tomorrow, we should widen the road in front of his house acquiring his property, then he will start crying against road widening.

 

 

 

 

 

silkboard's picture

Now, the BWSSB shocker, 4 water pipes near Sankey Road

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We now read in the papers that Sankey Road widening will lead to water supply stoppage for some key areas of Bangalore. It seems BBMP and BWSSB never consulted regarding some key water pipes going through the. Copying over from a DNA report (source epaper, July 6)

four main water pipelines will have to be shifted or their heights increased

A quote from BWSSB engineer in cheif

We are not sure what BBMP is planning ... no discussion .. communication on this. No proposal has been sent

So there you go. Another point in case to prove that there is some unwanted and undue haste in widening without any proper planning exercise.

Ravi_D's picture

Let us continue to catalog

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Let us continue to catalog this saga. If we look around, it is hard to find reliable chronology of mis-managed projects. Might come handy later.

dvsquare's picture

BBMP is all set to damage-bangalore mission

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We don't need LeT or any terrorist organization, BBMP can do it very well, just like a slow death.

For trees, its the same case everywhere, check this. This is an example of slow death.

Its too much for a govt organization to get the trees cut in night, that too when the court case is yet to be heard. Also, they plan to plant saplings, but where? what about the maintainence? Who is monitoring them?

Deepak

 

srinidhi's picture

19 trees was just the start..300+ is the actual

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 BBMP, which claimed that only 19 trees would be felled for widening the controversial Sankey Tank Bund Road, was saying only a half-truth. An estimate puts the number of trees being chopped at 300, along the road next to the tank. 

more here

idontspam's picture

Mathematics, dear BBMP

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“The fact that the road narrows down to just 12 m from 27 m, would be made clear and through this, the need for cutting trees would be explained,” said an official

Source

The very fact that a 4 lane carriage way is quoted as 27 meters wide shows BBMP doesnt know what is a lane. A city lane can be anywhere between 3 to 3.5 meters. So with 12 meters they can easily have a 4 lane carriageway without widening. Mathematics also they want to spin?

MaheshK's picture

Is the DCF still on the job?

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Is the DCF Puttaswamy still on the job? He should have been suspended, at least by the court. I dont know if court has any power to do it. Here the rule is suspension = paid vacation.

What I dont get is that the courts have to intervene for everything. And why? Cant the babus and netas make the right decision?   

Bengloorappa's picture

Karnataka High Court gives thumbs-up for Sankey road widening

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Full report here - http://www.deccanherald.com/content/208479/sankey-tank-road-widening-gets.html

Its pure joy all the way from here for all motorists driving from towards/from Yeshwantpur, Bhashyam Circle vis Sankey Road and vice-versa. No-one will ever get delayed while traversing this stretch ever again. Those trees cut are probably dry enough to be cut into high-end furniture.



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