Decision Maker: Gaurav Gupta , IAS, Commissioner BBMP
Ask: Tweak the alignment of the underpass at HAL junction to save 24 heritage trees.
BBMP is set to axe 24 more trees around the HAL junction to pave the way for an underpass. The proposed underpass is intended to make the T-junction signal free and currently, 8 out of the 32 trees have already been razed down.
These trees are home to hundreds of birds and small animals. They often provide shade to motorists. Of the trees identified for felling, a majority are massive, evergreen and with sprawling canopy. Some of them are at least 50 years old with a trunk size of at least 4-5 metres. There are over 60 trees on both sides of the road and on the median. Of these, 48 trees are marked in red, indicating that those obstruct the underpass.
While about 25 of the 32 trees are rain-trees (Samanea saman), which live for an average of 80 to 100 years, the remaining are Copper Pod (Peltophorum pterocarpum) that are 30-40 years old. Both these species are famous for roadside plantations.
The expert committee headed by the Indian Forest officer had given the nod for cutting the trees after field inspection. But activists allege that they were kept in the dark about the findings of the committee. In addition, regular commuters believe that the underpass at HAL junction would serve little purpose as time saved here would be lost on junctions on the Marathahalli stretch.
In February, BBMP Commissioner Gaurav Gupta had inspected the junction to review the underpass project. He gave the go-ahead to axe the trees as the tree expert committee had already approved to remove about 25 trees.
Ranganath Swamy, Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) at BBMP, said, “We have followed all instructions given by the High Court. We have already planted 200 saplings next to the road. We have also translocated seven trees to a safer place. Documents pertaining to the axing of trees have also been uploaded on our website along with details of the trees,” he said.
Sign the petition — demand BBMP Commissioner Gaurav Gupta to tweak the alignment of the underpass to save the remaining 24 trees.