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Green massacre

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Bloodless it will be, but it will make the city bleed in course of time. More than 850 trees on Jayamahal Road will be gone in a month’s time to make way for more vehicles of pollution.

For the full report in the ToI, click here.

Discussions on organising a protest against this massacre has been going on the Hasiru Usiru Y-group from some time. A recent comment read

Hello V,
If meeting with corporators takes place, some good examples from their own projects can be pointed out.
EG, on the Sarjapur Rd , after the HSR flyover, they have clearly used  the lines of trees as dividers and built the extra lane on the other side of the tree lines, on both sides. Why can't they follow a uniform policy? In case of Jayamahal Road, there is ample room for this approach as there is the Palace ground on one side and the Defence quarters on the other-so land is not at all an issue.
A valid reason for not widening this road in a hurry is that the HSRL is anyway coming up. All Cantonment commuters to BIAL wil just take an auto to MG Road and then take the HSRL shuttle. Hence traffic on Jayamahal Rd will reduce a lot.
There should be no panic on the grounds of BIAL commuters being delayed- they have to plan departure well ahead.
Most importantly, BBMP, the Govt and all of us need to counsel all car/bus drivers who are in a tearing hurry not to be impatient, agitate and pressurise since they must also be persuaded to undergo some hardships for 3-4 years, in the cause of the environment, till the HSRL, Metro and similar infra is built.

What is heartening is the involvement of the youth (just teenagers) in the protest - check this. Well, when they venture to question these so-called models of development, perhaps there's future after all.

Admittedly, the traffic movement on the road is not quite smooth. But, no one seems convinced about the solutions offered by the present-day planners. And, we still seem to be blindly following the car-centric American mobility model, even as Amercia itself is beginning to give it up.

Muralidhar Rao


rs's picture

A few months ago they did add

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A few months ago they did add an extra lane on Jaymahal road without cutting any trees and this I think has worked quite well and looks very nice. It retains the greenery as well as improves the flow of traffic. So I dont see the need for this masscre.

In fact, traffic movement can be made more smooth by making Jaymahal and Nandidurg roads one way from their junction. All traffic coming from the east on Millers road could be forced to use Nandi road while traffic goign east or towards Cant can be made to use Jaymahal. This was the situation when all the construction was going on at Cant station junction ( which is a godawful, inexplicable mess - but that is perhaps the subject of another post ) 

In fact I recall reading on Praja that the new idea of BBMP was to widen roads without cutting trees - I think that was waht was planned for Chowdiah road. But I'm not sure any more. The cut the trees on CV Raman road for absolutely no reason.



rs's picture

Sorry, I meant the other way

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Sorry, I meant the other way - traffic from Mekri should be made to go on Nandidurg road and traffic from the east should be made to go on Jaymahal road. Though I suppose the monumental mess they have made at Jaymahal Road Millers road junction might make that impossible. Anyway, one ways are the way to go.






I guess I was thinking like a BBMP engineer ;)

amitc's picture

Could we support the protests

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Could we support the protests or help take it up on a broader scale to stop this massacre? 

murali772's picture

interesting suggestion

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The following suggestion made by Mr Nityananda (a member of the Bangalore Environment Trust, in addition) on the HU Y-group, I thought was interesting:

Just in case the authorities do not accept any of the alternatives being suggested, as a last fall back measure we must insist on an MOU to be signed between HU, BBMP and Minister of Urban with following firm commitments:

- At least 1.5 Mtrs of land strip on both sides will be provided beside the utility ducts/ SWDs, for the sole purpose of planting new avenue trees.

- Trees would be of suitable large types which provide enough environmental benefits to the area, in terms of pollution absorption, shade thrown onto the road surface and aesthetic looks. The heritage look of the road to be restored by trees such as the Rain , Jacaranda, African Tulip, Delonix etc which would arch over the road surface. (Any other large "Indian " species also can be tried, if it has similar configuration. Large trees do not necessarily endanger the ducts as can be seen at St Marks Road, any number of roads in JP Nagar, Jayanagar, Subburama Chetty Road etc)

- Sturdy metal Tree guards to be provided for the saplings and arrangements to water them regularly to be made by BBMP.

- Wherever the land strip just cannot be provided, commitment to be made to green the median ( min width 1.2 mtrs) with medium sized trees of suitable types. Bushes to be planted between trees to form a hedge against oncoming headlamps. Trees to be spaced every 10-15 mtrs, between the bushes. *( See example of Bannerghatta Rd)

- No further widening of the road/s for next 35 years , giving a chance to the trees to reach their full height and spread. (Not something I'm going to see, anyway !)

- Tree labels to be fixed to each tree announcing that this is a protected tree (by Order, BBMP) This way we get the BBMP to buy-in to the tree protection concept.

Hopefully things won't come to this pass, but it could be good to keep a well drafted MOU ready , just in case. In case the MOU is declined,same points could also be useful in case of any PIL being submitted, as was done in the recent case in Mysore.


Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

support HU, via proposals that could save the trees

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HU is working to organize a public hearing sort of meeting with BBMP where BBMP engineers can explain the project and interact with citizens. Vinay had callled to check if we can put up a (Praja-style) presentation to show alternative solutions (that can save the trees or perhaps minimize the damage).

Vinay will post the details on the BBMP interaction soon, tentatively sometime next week. wondering if we can crowd-source a proposal in a week's time.

Naveen, Karthik, Transmog, IDS, or anyone - do you know the area well. My knowledge of that side of town is rather weak.

murali772's picture

Reverse role

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“We are not even consulted when a project proposal is submitted. Yet, the forest cell is hauled up for giving permission to cut trees. The commissioner recently took a senior official to task for allowing trees to be cut on a particular stretch. But, the truth is that we hardly have a say in the matter,” says an official who is tired of being raked over the coals.
In the last 10 years, the green cover of Bangalore has come down by more than 50 per cent. Most of it due to infrastructure projects of the BBMP and Bangalore Metro. “But, how is our cell expected to save trees if we are not involved at the planning stage? In a city like Bangalore that has boulevards, we will not be able to save any tree if you insist on straight lines while planning roads. A little dip and turn can save a considerable number of trees. But, they plan everything to the last detail before coming to us only for permission to cut trees. So, who do we give suggestions to save these trees?” says the official.
At present, only the engineering department is involved in planning infrastructure projects. The problem with this procedure, according to forest cell officials, is that the engineering department plans from paper to ground instead of vice versa.

For the full report in the Bangalore Mirror, click here

Apparently, the forest cell has been constituted just to go through with the formality of obtaining permissions to cut trees expeditiously, rather than protecting the green cover. With such an approach, what else can you expect?


Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

immeasurable value

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Dr Harini says that it is important to carefully consider 'mitigation strategies' while dealing with the environmental issues. "First, we should disabuse ourselves of the notion that the environmental and ecological benefits provided by a large mature tree can be easily replaced in a short time frame by planting a number of small saplings. It takes years for a sapling to reach the size of a large mature tree, and provide similar benefits," she said. Also, the survival rate of saplings planted in the urban context is often quite poor, and many of these saplings may not survive to maturity in the first place. Thus, it is important to first prioritise the efforts to determine alternatives to road widening in this area, she added.

For the full report in the Deccan Herald, click here

BBMP and 'development' proponents keep talking about compensatory planting with x number of saplings for every tree felled, without crediting a grown tree its true value. Besides, in the urban context, trees are more and more required on roadsides (and not just in parks), which need to be populated more and more by pedestrians (and cyclists) than just by automobiles.


Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

what lengths to save a tree

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Great inspiration for understanding how much some people value conservation and some don’t!

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Fine video

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A really good demonstration of the history & heritage value of a tree & it's relocation! comment guidelines

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