Ask: Save 1500 heritage trees of Udupi
Decision Maker: National Highways Authority of India, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
What’s the issue?
A whooping 1500 age-old trees are being axed to widen National Highway 169A, which starts from Malpe in the Udupi district and ends at Tirthahalli. Presently, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has initiated the construction of a four-lane road between the Parkala and Hebri stretch of the highway as the Coastal Bypass to Malpe. The extravagant ‘development’ project is being carried out in phases and through pocketed parts of the long stretch of the national highway. The healthy old trees include mango and banyan amongst other species. Shockingly, a part of the proposed stretch also runs through the eco-sensitive zone of the Western Ghats covering the reserve forests of Agumbe, Udupi, and Someshwar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Why is it important?
Large-scale razing of fully-grown trees and excavation of soil in eco-sensitive zones will result in increased rockfalls and landslides. “Incidents of hills collapsing have increased due to the axing of heritage trees for highway projects that pass through sensitive areas like the Western Ghats,” wrote Vijaya Karnataka.
The heritage 1500+ trees making way for the exorbitant road-widening project are at least 50-100 years old and are home to numerous arboreal species of animals and birds.
The proposed stretch passes through secluded wildlife zones bordering protected areas of reserve forests and will prove catastrophic to the environment.
As the world battles the ill effects of a climate crisis, environmentalists are wary of the needless intrusion into fast-diminishing biodiversity and think the “four-lane project is unnecessary as there is no traffic on the present NH169A,” as per mangalorecity.in.
What can you do?
Speak for the silent and lend your voice to the heritage trees. Sign the petition and persuade the National Highways Authority of India to preserve biodiversity and spare 1500+ trees.