January 17, 2022

431 trees to be chopped off for widening the airport route

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A count of 431 trees, which include some being decades old, will bd chopped off from the road that connects Belatturu bridge and Koramangala Cross based in East Bengaluru taluk, to further widen the road, which will act as another bypass for the Kempegowda International Airport.

The plan is for axing down 355 trees and the remnants will be transplanted.

The state government agency, the Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), who is working on widening the road had appealed to the Forest Department to ask for their permission to cut the trees. The agency has also written to the BBMP, mentioning their plan of action and that they were all set to pay the upset amount and also do the compensatory afforestation.

 Earlier, on December 5, the Forest Department representing the Bengaluru Urban Division gave a public notice, where citizens will be given 10 days to file an objection for the chopping of the trees. As the deadline was met, the tree felling will be initiated. Though, there is no clarity about the number of objections came up from the citizens, as there were no comments by Ravishankar, Deputy Conservator of Forests Bengaluru Urban.

The proposal was put forth three months ago, when environmental activists filed a petition in the High Court about the chopping of trees by KRDCL, which comprises of heritage trees, and without any required permissions. The court directed an expert committee to assess the situation and whether the trees can be saved.

Dattatreya Devare, representing the NGO Bangalore Environment Trust, marked that majority of the trees were heritage trees and urged the government agencies to see them beyond impediments and take an action to save them.

Devare quoted the Bombay High Court which had passed the order to reduce the road width and save the trees in Nashik Municipal Corporation versus Nagrik Kruti Samhiti. The court ordered, “If big trees exist on the road to be widened, endeavor shall be made to protect those trees by reducing the width of the road at a particular place.”

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