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Chipko..Appiko and now Bachhiko!?

Development activities like building the metro always brings environmental issues along with them and tree cutting figures very prominently..Authorities take`refuge of quoting selective trimming of the trees and not necessarily bringing them down..
but we all know that hardly does any`good..any of you remember the tall trees on the Mysore road in front of the police parade grounds?..they were trimmed while constructing the flyover..some still stand out..but no good actually!
there are many examples out there of such type!

Looking at the Nanda road now..the serene shade of the big trees there and imagining that they will be gone in few months sounds very painful!

what can we do?

India loves environment/trees and so we had the 'chipko' movement..karnataka had its own 'appiko' it time for a 'bacchiko' (hide) movement?

If at grade/elevated rails can cause lot of harm to the nature..why dont we take them underground and hide(bacchiko) them?

Yes it is very expensive..but dont we have methods to raise the money?..Maybe its a first time in the world but that will surely send out a very strong message to everyone out there as to what we can do!

Request your thoughts and ideas on this.

narayan82's picture

My understanding


I too love trees. Nothing in bangalore is better than the few tree lined avenues when they are in full bloom!

But to me, the metro is inevitable. We need it badly. And unfortunatelt, however it is aligned a trees will go. Howevere depressing this maybe I somehow belive it is the only solution to the mess.

However, I do not belive than there is NO space in bangalore for more trees. For every tree felled in Bangalore, I can easily find 2 spots to plant a new one. Look at the divider on IRR - opposite DELL. Its wide enought to have rain trees. But instead we have errected empty, horrid advertsiing boxes that consume huge amounts of electricity.

Why not make it madatory for every new house/apartment/comm building that is being errected to have a tree atleast in their compound? There are sooooo many places in the city we can plant trees but we have no desire to develop those. Yes, it does take 15 years for atre to grow, but we could start now!

Also, from what I have heart/read bangalore has a very rocky terrain. Tunneling underground is not only expensive but will also require blasting - which can affect people around the area. Which is the main reason why the metro is elevated.

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
silkboard's picture

More trees more FAR?

Or some similar policy push to encourage planting of trees? Some possibilities

  • 10 trees on your front side road setback, you get 0.5 bonus FAR
  • Commercial/office buildings with x trees / sqft builtup area get energy rebate
  • Road/Rail/Office/Apartment builders get a 5% bonus/money back, or 1 year property tax rebate if they put two trees for every tree they end up uprooting for their development work
  • Any entity other than BMTC buying buses or vans must by hybrid vehicles or the ones that run on less polluting fuel (gas, bio-deisel)

Pushing for policy changes like above should give us the pounds. Fighting for 6-7 stretches of roads and rails is like fighting for pennies.

Instead of fighting a project at such late stage, wish we worked to make the environmental clearance process a lot more transparent, because if we had gotten our voices there (early in the project planning process), we would not be seen in negative light by pro-development-at-any-cost lobby (which outnumbers us tree lovers, I believe that) as the Metro opponents are seen today.

I love Nanda Theater Road (RV Road, or 4th main, this road has so many names), and will certainly love to save those trees. But

  • Fighting every other project with trees as the cause has to have some method that can help people draw the line and criteria to justify and pick the projects to oppose
  • As I said above, the energy spent by activists to fight at late stage on selective projects via PIL etc is perhaps going to be spent better and more effectively by fighting for transparent environmental clearance process and pushing for green policy changes with city civic bodies.

Hope I made some sense.

Naveen's picture

Alignment Change Still not Too Late

The Metro extension in the South could have included a re-alignment as follows:

After Jayanagar station (near old Nanda theatre), it could have turned west & again turned south to proceed along Kanakapura road, straight past Banashankari temple towards Puttenahalli. If this were done, the beautiful avenue with shady trees from Nanda to the southern end of the road could have been saved & left intact. Catchment will also improve since some parts of Banashankari-east will be covered.

Taking the route all the way along Nanda road, past Jayanagar station was quite unnecessary as catchment areas are somewhat lean after Jayanagar station.

It is still not too late to re-work this alignment as physical works are yet to begin on RV road.

idontspam's picture

No space for environment

However, I do not belive than there is NO space in bangalore for more trees

I remember during my trip to southampton, UK last Feb, they had earmarked a whole block of industries near downtown to be destroyed and converted to parks. While they are creating space we are destroying our CA sites to build apartments.

We are picking on adhoc targets. The metro etc are planned developments which will help us keep the environment free of cars. Why dont we look at design of our existing layouts and make space for trees? Our layouts are famous for cramming people. Have we made provisions in our recently widened streets for Trees and pedestrians? I left in october when work on Bellary road was still on. I bet if I look today there would be no trees planted there and no ped sidewalk along the way. I hope I am wrong.

Not just the trees, the children's parks too!

Hi, Just joined the group out of the fact that it pains me to see the lack of planning in our dear town. Just heard from a friend in Banashankari that not just the RV Road trees but the entire Lakshmana Rao Udyana (along either side of the road) are going to be consumed by the metro. I scanned the entire Namma Metro site for some info, but got none. Don't know if this is true. I agree that we are a bit late in getting our act together, but is not late better than never? Any ideas on what we could potentially do to minimize the damage? If some of the members of the group take a trip down to UVCE / SJ Polytechnic circle, you can see how traumatic this entire construction is going to be. An older example is of course the Central Jail on the same road. Bye Sivaramakrishnan.
s_yajaman's picture

Some part will go for the stations

Here is what I have heard,

a. The trees will only be PRUNED - the NM will come up on the median.

b. the part near 40th cross will go for the station.

Luckily or unluckily the sewage and water pipes run under the gardens.  This happened some 20-25 years back when the rose gardens were uprooted and the pipes were put in there. 

For me the ideal route on this is to go on Elephant Rock Road and down 9th main (have a station next to the TTMC in 4th block) and then turn right onto 45th cross.  It could even terminate at the TTMC - buses could ferry people to Jayanagar and JP Nagar.


Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

srinidhi's picture

do we have an arborist?

I waz reading that pruning trees itself is a very complicated task and folks doing that call themselves arborists..

do we have any one in bangalore who can do it?
All I know of is the KEB guys going around chopping all branches obstructing their lines..else it the chopper group making rounds these days who chop everything of a tree!

arunvishvin's picture

Why not Underground rail????

blrsri's picture

cost is the problem..

I  believe...thats what they quote!

If that is the case ask the people in that area to contribute..simple!
Narayana Murthy from Infosys can contribute a sizable sum..also say a 100rs permonth contribution can be solicited from the public..why not!?

They can raise the money thru petrol cess also..afterall let the public also pay some kind of congestion tax!

There are surely ways and means..its just the will! 

However they have already made a mess of Chord road and part of KR road..chopping all trees there..its just a matter of time for Nanda road!

Cess on vehicles

Bangalore can easily generate more than Rs. 100 Crores by levying a cess on petrol / diesel consumption. Besides, a lot of development funds in institutions like ADB (Asian Development Bank) are UNUSED. We are even paying a committment charge for those unused funds.

These are low interest funds and could have been easily used for underground metro. All of our Metro could have been driven underground. There would be additional carrying capacity underground compared to at grade and elevated.

Lack of political will and lack of foresight is to blame. 
idontspam's picture

Underground metro and water table

 All of our Metro could have been driven underground

Flip side is, tunnelling breaks the ground water channels and reduces the water table. For a water starved city like bangalore this can become huge problem. It is better to relocate over head trees than break the water table

Read: Ground water levels may change

srinidhi's picture

It aint go that deep!

I am not sure about the water table getting affected..after all the line go just about 20-30 feet deep..

the borewells in bangalore go as deep as 300 ft..and where is the space in the CBD for the soil to take in the water anyways!

More so Nanda road already has the cauvery water line which is about 10 ft in dia already emeded below 15 - 20 ft in the side lanes there!

s_yajaman's picture

Subsoil also a consideration

Underground lines run pretty deep.  The station concourse is usually 20-25 feet below street level and the tracks another 10-15 feet.  Central Bangalore has a higher water table.  Read that somewhere on this site itself. 

Also need to take into account the nature of the subsoil.  Apparently, the Kadirenahalli underpass is now stuck because they have hit granite and will need to use explosives.  Neraby residents are not okay with that as they think that their building integrity will get affected.

However if the only reason was cost saving, I think it was a pretty foolish and short sighted decision to build an elevated stretch on MG Road.


Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

blrsri's picture

Save Lalbaugh and Nanda road..

 The HasiruUsiru campaign is taking a good turn now..they now want the nanda road to be saved and the options they are talking of is to take the metro rail underground..

Please see their site:

 We need to stop the land army from chopping trees for the metro at their will..

How can Praja support this cause? 

s_yajaman's picture

And why so early

They seem hell bent on chopping trees as the first option.  They have not even been able to finish Reach 1.  Why chope trees 1 year ahead of start of construction.  Does chopping trees take so long?

Underground on Nanda Road from south end to BTM Road will be an extra 2 km of underground and will save one of the most beautiful stretches of road in Bangalore.


Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Ravi_D's picture

Let us ask this question directly to BMRC

As SY asked, Why can't they wait till they get there to chop the trees? Instead, they should be planting those additional (did I hear 2 for 1) samplings they promised to replace the chopped trees with. If they seed them now, they will be big enough to plant when these guys are close to the spot.

I completely fail to understand this method. Chop trees, dig open holes, break roads and medians when they are 'planned' to commense work two years ahead. Ideally, they should be barricading a block of about a km at most, at any given work spot. If they want to speed up work, work on multiple such blocks at different spots on the lines. Complete all works, remove barricades, and clean up the road below before moving on to the next stretch, so they cause minimal inconvenience. No, we enjoy creating trouble here. And enjoy stretching any existing pain as long as possible.

How do we go forward? Write individual emails or a collective letter?


das's picture

Trimming is same as cutting down

"We will only trim the trees, we will not cut them down" is a a half-truth. These are huge trees that have grown in such a way that there is a fine balance and the centre of gravity lies within the trunk. If you chop off one of the tree (this is what the Metro will require) you are shifting the centre of gravity, in a matter of months the tree will just fall down on its own.

Trees are being cut down wholesale all over the city with the consoling thought that "2 trees will be planted in every tree that is cut down". The fact is that we will see the replacement trees in the original size after 40-50 years, if we are still alive.


Naveen's picture

Viaducts on MG Rd & Nanda Rd - Eyesores

The feasibility study report by RITES had recommended the E-W route to be underground till Brigade rd junction from where it was to ramp up & become elevated at Mayo hall till Byappanahalli. This would have saved the MG rd boulevard & retained the visual charm along this stretch.

However, the DPR plans from DMRC indicate that the elevated section was to ramp up between Cubbon rd & MG rd & be fully elevated all along MG rd.

The additional underground distance would have been only about a kilometer & in cost terms, it would not have greatly changed the financials for Metro construction.

One wonders if the authorities & BMRC had blindly accepted what DMRC had proposed without thinking about long-term impacts that are of a social & sentimental nature. The only way to fight this is through actions such as what Hasiru-Usiru is doing, but it is already too late now. They should have campaigned earlier & would have probably succeeded if what they are doing now had been carried out about three years ago.

As regards Nanda rd, the elevated section has been known a long time since planning was begun for the erstwhile ELRTS. The Metro route has replaced ELRTS now & as I mentioned in an earlier post, the route could have been led via Kanakapura rd after the Jayanagar station, thus saving much of the trees & the serenity on this beautiful road. It would also have added more catchment areas along Kanakapura road as Banashankari 2nd stage would have been in close proximity too.

Again, all this does seem a little too late now to change things as contracts have already been awarded by BMRC & even if a party contests the route in court, they may be questioned & reprimanded as trouble maker/s since the party never brought this up to the court's notice earlier.

blrsri's picture

L&T upto it..!

 was at the hasiru usiru walk at lalbagh yesterday..good slogan shouting etc..

but felt we were fighting  a loosing battle as its evident from todays newspapers that BMRC is now armed with many reasons as to why underground is not a solution to save trees!

Pity we discussed nanda road more than a year ago..maybe we could have done something then..which cud have helped..met a gentleman from domlur who had come all the way to save nanda road cos he feels proud about that stretch and has not found another example like that anywhere in India..pity we will now loose that!

Only one heartening thing to notice was that L&T are now on that least now we can see some steady progress from qualified engineering group!

s_yajaman's picture

I wonder sometimes

a. Why we wake up late.  This alignment was known to HU and all others for about 2 years now.   I am as guilty of inaction but with HU's environmental muscle power they could have woken up earlier and forced some changes before BMRCL could claim it was too late.

b.  Whether we should consider that lovely stretch as land reserved for precisely some such thing and we were lucky to have it green for the past 40 years.  And now the time has come for it to be used.  (BTW my mother-in-law tells me that Richmond Road used to be a tree covered canopy).

c. Work with BMRC to ensure that the fewest possible trees are cut on that stretch and as late as possible and put an RTI to find out where they have planted saplings as replacement.

d. Work with the govt to convert Race Course into a mini forest.  It will take 20 years to bloom, but it is never too late to start. 

e. Convert some of the old lake beds into forested areas as well (Sarakki Lake, Varthur Lake e.g.).  Better to have it wooded than to see it covered with water hyacinth or with concrete structures.





Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Public Agenda's picture

Race course as a tree park for the future and for sustainablity

 we need at least 200 acres for a good new park but even if we find bits and pieces it should be fine 

RC on sheshadri road in the heart of Bangalore could be a good beginning for the same

What if we can leave such a legacy behind for the future generations like Tipu and Hyder Ali before us comment guidelines

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