Save 1223 trees on Jayamahal Road and Bellary Road in Bangalore

Created: Sun, Nov 28, 2010 Updated: Tuesday , March 29, 2011 @ 06:00 hrs IST
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save1223trees/
http://www.petitiononline.com/856trees/

Tree-killers having a free run in B'lore - Panorama - Harini Nagendra - Deccan Herald Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The price of a wide road: 1223 trees! Deccan Chronicle Tuesday, January 4, 2011
http://www.deccanchronicle.com/bengaluru/price-wide-road-1223-trees-144
The BBMP has locked horns with an NGO by making known its plans to fell a sizable number of trees in the process of widening Bellary Road. According to the BBMP, 911 trees would have to be cut, but as per ATREE, the NGO, the number would be nearer 1,223 trees.

1,223 trees face the axe - City - Poornima Nataraj - Deccan Herald Thursday, December 30, 2010
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/124817/1223-trees-face-axe.html
Widening of Jayamahal Road-Bellary Road could prove costly
Greens' Plea: Posters urging authorities not to cut trees on Jayamahal Road DH Photo
Greens' Plea: Posters urging authorities not to cut trees on Jayamahal Road DH Photo
As many as 1,223 trees belonging to 41 species are all set to be razed for the road-widening project on Jayamahal Road and Bellary Road leading to Mekhri Circle.

Although there have been massive protests from green groups to save the green patch on this stretch, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is expected to start the work anytime.

Recently, an environment NGO, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) conducted a survey on trees that were marked for uprooting. The survey, headed by Dr Harini Nagendra, Urban Ecological Coordinator, ATREE, found that there are several massive exotic species of rain trees including African tulips and Copper pods which form large canopies. These trees have been around for over 150 years.

The survey was conducted in three sections, where the first dealt with the pavements on these roads which had 183 trees of 15 species. However, there are chances of saving a few trees here by incorporating them into road medians. The second section dealt with the area within the Palace compound, on the eastern edge of Bellary Road, between Mekhri Circle and the flyover near Windsor Manor. This stretch has 525 trees of 26 species and was found to have a greater biodiversity.

The third section on Jaymahal Road, between the Cantonment bridge and Mekhri Circle, has over 515 trees with a diverse set of 30 species. A number of bird nests were also observed on taller trees here, indicating the importance of these habitats for bird population in the neighbourhood.

Environmental impact
The survey found that trees on these roads reduce mid-day air temperature by five to seven degrees Celsius and the road surface temperatures by 30 degrees Celsius. From the size, it is clear that these huge trees are decades old and uprooting them will have a major impact on the urban heat islands, biodiversity, air pollution and temperature in this area.

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.

Teens try to thwart BBMP axe - Manasi Paresh Kumar - Bangalore Mirror Friday, November 05, 2010
http://www.bangaloremirror.com/index.aspx?Page=article&sectname=News%20-%20City&sectid=10&contentid=2010110520101105044143938901c7e75
"The first question that comes to mind is "what is wrong with these guys?" says Bhakti, a second year PUC student from Mount Carmel College, who came up with the idea of taking on the mighty civic body.

Nandita Chalwa and Srividya V P, a couple of ninth standard students of Sindhi School, are disgusted. "The administration's argument is that they plant two saplings for every tree they cut down. How does it balance out when you are a cutting down 100-year-old trees? By the time the saplings grow (if they grow at all), even we'll be dead," argues Srividya.

Palike draws bike lanes on tree lines - Deccan Herald Monday, September 20, 2010
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/97920/palike-draws-bike-lanes-tree.html
Double take
The civic body wants to fell over 850 to 1223 trees in the name of road widening, a project for which it has drawn flak from the City's environmentalists and tree lovers.

The BBMP has already sent / forwarded / submitted a proposal to the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) to seek the consent of the advocate general before it moves the Supreme Court and seek the go-ahead to fell the old trees that would make way for the Rs 38-crore road-widening project.

The Palike's plans to give the City wider roads at the cost of green. Part of the BBMP's concern for cyclists stems from the City's increasingly polluted air, aggressive motorists and pervasive lack of respect for traffic laws which do not make Bangalore's streets very safe for two-wheelers.

Tree-killers having a free run in B'lore - Panorama - Harini Nagendra - Deccan Herald Tuesday, January 04, 2011
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/126024/tree-killers-having-free-run.html
Anyone who has lived in Bangalore for at least a few weeks would have noticed the shade covered, green canopied roads that still exist in different parts of the city, and the unforgettable, stress-relieving experience of walking or driving down one of them.

Those who have lived in the city for longer would know many such once-wooded avenues, now converted into burning barren asphalted lengths of road.

Tree felling in Bangalore is not a recent phenomenon. Yet, the scale and intensity of tree felling has increased so significantly over the past 3 to 5 years 2007-2010/2005-2010, as to leave many of us aghast. Tens of thousands of trees have been sacrificed in the name of road widening, flyovers, underpasses and the metro.

This article discusses the results of two field surveys conducted on Nanda road, where trees were cut in 2009 for the metro, and near Mekhri circle, where tree felling for road widening has been planned in the coming weeks.

Nostalgia
The Nanda road and the adjacent Laxman Rao park once provided one of the most spectacular urban sights of greenery in the crowded Bangalore city. We found 897 trees marked for metro-related cutting, from a diverse set of 25 species, including shade giving copper pods and rain trees, vibrantly flowering Tabebuias, and biodiversity-friendly neem, tamarind and honge trees.

Over a fourth of them were large trees with a diameter greater than two metres.

Ecologists and naturalists say that many bird species depended on this green corridor for their movement between Lalbagh and the Bannerghatta National Park. With all the disturbance and construction activity on the road, and the absence of many of these trees now, the impacts on urban biodiversity, birdlife and urban wildlife has been severe.

Yet, we still have a chance to save the 1,223 trees adjacent to Mekhri circle that are marked out for felling. There are 41 species, including large sacred trees like the peepal, economically important species like sandal, teak and honge, and massive rain trees, African tulips and copper pods which have been around in Bangalore for over 150 years.

Some of them are extremely large trees, with girths greater than three metres, providing a sheltered habitat within the Palace area for urban wildlife and birds. As the urban ecology research shows, trees play an important role in the city, reducing air pollution levels by as much as 75 per cent, and decreasing mid-day air temperatures by 5-7% C, mitigating the impacts of global warming and urban climate change.

We must recognise that the environmental benefits lost by the cutting down of large trees cannot be replaced by the planting of small saplings in a short time span. At least, the 183 trees in the sidewalk should be protected on a median, as has been done in/on Sarjapur road. At least 20 surviving saplings should replace every mature tree that is cut. Only tall, healthy saplings that are at least a year old must be planted.

Unlike many of the newly planted unsuitable species we see along the median of the city's large roads today, which are selected in an ad hoc manner by the contractors who are hired to plant trees, there should be a careful and scientific selection of species that are biodiversity attracting and shade giving, with stable root structures that are resistant to pollution.

The residents from the surrounding neighbourhoods should be engaged by partners in the effort to green the city, so that they can have a say in ensuring the ideal locations and best possible survival rates of these saplings. If this is not done, and we continue with 'business as usual,' we do not have any chance of ensuring the city's survival as a green and liveable location in the years to come.

BBMP waits for SC's nod to fell 856 trees - Wednesday, September 29, 2010
http://expressbuzz.com/biography/bbmp-waits-for-sc%u2019s-nod-to-fell-856-trees/210852.html
On one hand the city corporation has earmarked crores of rupees in its budget to build tree parks and on the other hand, it is seeking permission to fell as many as 856 to 1223 trees to widen a road.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the state government have approached the Supreme Court to file an interim application wherein they have sought permission to cut 856 to 1223 trees in the city. The trees will be felled to widen a 5.5-km stretch on Palace Road. The stretch in question starts from BDA junction and goes around Jayamahal.

BBMP Chief Engineer (Major Roads), Chikrayappa, informed that they were waiting for the approval of the Supreme Court to start work on the stretch. He said once the work started, it would be completed within 12 months.

The BBMP's road widening drive has seen stiff opposition from resident welfare organisations in the city. It was alleged that road widening in the city was being taken up in an unscientific manner. Even Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister S Sureshkumar had spoken against it.

BBMP defends widening of Jayamahal Road -The Hindu Tuesday, January 4, 2011
http://www.hindu.com/2011/01/04/stories/2011010463090400.htm 
Palace to lose 16 acres, relief depends on court verdict
SURPRISE PACKAGE: This scenic lake is right in the heart of the city, at the Palace Grounds. The BBMP is taking over 16 acres of the land to widen Jayamahal Road, felling hundreds of trees. - Photo K. Gopinathan
SURPRISE PACKAGE: This scenic lake is right in the heart of the city, at the Palace Grounds. The BBMP is taking over 16 acres of the land to widen Jayamahal Road, felling hundreds of trees. - Photo K. Gopinathan - The Hindu

The city will lose its green cover further what with the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) going ahead with the widening of both Jayamahal Road (Cantonment Station to Mekhri Circle) and Bellary Road (Mekhri Circle to BDA Junction).

According to a survey conducted by a non-governmental organisation, ATREE, more than 1,200 trees will have to be felled, which is at odds with BBMP's figure of 911.

The BBMP's Standing Committee for Major Works inspected the stretches on Monday, January 3, 2011 and claimed that widening would be completed in a year. Both the roads would be widened to measure around 150 ft (30 m to 45 m) at a cost of Rs. 35 crore.

More protests to stop road widening - Times of India Monday, February 7, 2011
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/More-protests-to-stop-road-widening/articleshow/7439631.cms
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-02-07/bangalore/28375124_1_protests-bellary-road-environmental-activists
Posters in hand and voices loud in protest... a group of concerned citizens took to the streets to save trees on Jayamahal road, that are to be felled for widening the stretch.

The group said they were angered that though the road widening work was supposed to take place only after public discussion, work progressed unabated here. Calling the current project of making Jayamahal road, Bellary road and Suranjan Das road wider as illegal, the environmental activists said it was in violation of judgments of the high court issued for public interest litigations WP7107/2008 and WP13241/2009.

At what cost, that wider road to airport in Bangalore? - Vidya Iyengar - DNA Monday, February 7, 2011
http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_at-what-cost-that-wider-road-to-airport-in-bangalore_1504280
Why are large infrastructure projects taken up without public consultation? Riled by the repeated failure of civic authorities to keep their word, a group of over 100 citizens marched in protest at Jayamahal Road on Sunday, February 6 afternoon.

"Padachaarigala Ulisi (Save the pedestrians)," the sloganeers shouted, seeking that pedestrians be part of the planning of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP); "Ulisi, Ulisi, maragala Ulisi (Save, Save, Save the trees)," they said, calling out that the trees be saved.

While the BBMP has claimed that 857 trees would be axed to widen the roads in this area, the marchers on Sunday, February 6 said that they had counted the trees earmarked for felling; they number 1,223. Many of these trees have achieved a huge girth and a large canopy, being nearly 80 years old. The BBMP proposes to plant saplings eight inches long to replace them. "What sort of plan is that?" the protesters questioned.

After a public protest by residents in the area in November 2010, the chairman of the BBMP's standing committee on major works, H Ravindra, had promised that a public meeting would be held. A meeting was scheduled for December 10, 2010 which was later cancelled. Repeated attempts to schedule another meeting were futile.

The protesters pointed out that provisions of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961, had been breached: No scheme had been drafted for the widening of Jayamahal and Bellary roads, and no plans were made available in the public domain.

Environmentalist Suresh Heblikar joined the protesters on Sunday, February 6, 2011. He questioned the priorities of the government, pointing out that even though fewer people regularly commute to the airport than to Majestic Bus station, the authorities are keen to have wider roads leading to the airport.

The protesters said that the proposal to make these roads eight-lane ones would harm pedestrians. They pointed out that in the first five weeks after the new airport opened in May 2008, 17 pedestrians were killed on Bellary Road.

BBMP has not considered alternatives to road widening, the protesters claimed. Citing statistics from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, the protesters said repeated widening of roads would serve no purpose, as nearly 40,000 new cars are registered each month. "With the number of cars increasing, we will not see any reduction in congestion," said Shaheen Shasa, volunteer, Hasiru Usiru.

NGOs slam BBMP 'betrayal' on trees Deccan Herald Monday, February 7, 2011
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/135479/ngos-slam-bbmp-betrayal-trees.html
Concerned over the loss of hundreds of trees adorning Bellary Road and Jayamahal Road, activists of NGOs, Hasiru Usiru and Save Bangalore Committee, staged a demonstration near Mekhri Circle, before taking out a procession towards Cauvery Theatre on Sunday, February 6, 2011.

Decrying what they termed as a 'betrayal' by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) which had promised that it would not widen the thoroughfares without public consent, activists of the NGOs asserted that they would continue their movement until the proposed road-widening projects were shelved.

The protesters felt aggrieved with the BBMP 'mercilessly' chopping trees in the City depriving it of its once-famed greenery.

Speaking on the occasion, Ravi of the Save Bangalore Committee accused the BBMP of 'undervaluing' the loss of green cover.

"The civic agency claims nearly 860 trees would be axed on Bellary Road and Jayamahal Road to lay 150 feet four-lane roads. The brutal reality, however, is that at least 1,220 trees will be chopped," he contended.

Lamenting that no public representative was airing his views on conserving the green cover in this stretch though three corporators represent the area, Ravi alleged that the BBMP 'never listened' to the alternatives suggested so as to avoid tree-felling and road widening.

He said a lot of space could be created if car parking by the road side was banned.

Suresh Heblikar launched a scathing attack against the Palike for trying to solve the City's traffic woes by chopping the trees. He sought an explanation from the Palike authorities on measures it would take if the traffic problem persisted even after the roads were widened.

Struggle continues
Vinay Srinivas, an office-bearer of Hasiru Usiru, said the NGO would continue its movement until the BBMP dropped the plans of felling trees to accommodate more private vehicles on the stretch.

Later, the activists took out a rally from Mekhri Circle to Cauvery Junction to generate public support for their cause.

Road widening: residents stage protest against BBMP inaction - The Hindu Monday, February 7, 2011 - Karnataka - Bangalore
http://www.hindu.com/2011/02/07/stories/2011020761900300.htm
Nearly 100 people take part in the demonstration at Mehkri Circle
- Small Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
SAVING TREES: Members of Eco Watch and Hasire Usiru staging a protest against road widening work at Mehkri Circle in Bangalore on Sunday, February 6, 2011. - Small Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
SAVING TREES: Members of Eco Watch and Hasire Usiru staging a protest against road widening work at Mehkri Circle in Bangalore on Sunday, February 6, 2011.

Road widening: residents stage protest against BBMP inaction News - Cities - Bangalore - The Hindu Monday, February 7, 2011
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Bangalore/article1164316.ece 
Members of Eco Watch and Hasire Usiru and others protesting against road widening work at Mekri Circle in Bangalore on Sunday, February 6, 2011. Big Photo: V Sreenivasa Murthy
Members of Eco Watch and Hasire Usiru and others protesting against road widening work at Mekhri Circle in Bangalore on Sunday, February 6, 2011. Big Photo: V Sreenivasa Murthy - The Hindu

Activists and residents staged a protest here on Sunday demanding action from the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on the issue of widening of Jayamahal and Bellary roads.

Nearly 100 people took part in the protest at Mehkri Circle to express anger against the BBMP for not keeping its promise of holding discussions with the group on the project. The group, consisting of residents and activists from Wild Forever Foundation, Hasiru Usiru and Save Bangalore Committee, had, in November 2010, staged a protest against the road-widening project and the resultant mass felling of trees.

They met H. Ravindra, chairman of the BBMP's standing committee on major works, who promised to hold discussions in December 2010 where people would be given an opportunity to air their concerns. As he had failed to do so, the activists staged the protest on Sunday, February 6, 2011 to remind the BBMP of his promise.

Environmentalist Suresh Heblikar alleged that the motive behind the project was to cater to the section of people that frequents the Bangalore International Airport (BIA). He said that this was being done at the expense of over a 1,000 trees. The activists pointed out that the saplings that were being planted as compensation for the loss of trees were going to take nearly 20 years to grow.

The risk that the road-widening project will cause to pedestrians was also discussed. The BBMP's plans to construct skywalks and pedestrian underpasses for a one-kilometre stretch is not feasible as the elderly, children, differently-abled and pregnant women would not be able to use these facilities, they said. The group now plans to submit a memorandum to Mayor S.K. Nataraj and decided to continue the struggle till the project was dropped.

At what cost, that wider road to airport? - www.daily.bhaskar.com Vidya Iyengar DNA
http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/BAN-at-what-cost-that-wider-road-to-airport-1827104.html 


Residents of Jayamahal go all out to save tree-lined street : DNA - PK Surendran -Daily News & Analysis Saturday, November 20, 2010, 12:24 IST
http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_residents-of-jayamahal-goes-all-out-to-save-tree-lined-street_1469392
Jayamahal goes all out to save tree-lined street - PK Surendran, DNA  - NDTV/DNA
http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/jayamahal-goes-all-out-to-save-tree-lined-street-67525
In a show of solidarity to save hundreds of trees and spare the pedestrians inconvenience, residents of the leafy Jayamahal Road, some 2,000 people including 500 school and college students, have decided to form a human chain on Sunday November 21, 2010 to protest the move to fell trees here to widen this 60-feet road into an 8-lane one.

Residents and youth here have joined forces to declare war against the move of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike to clear the road of as many as 856 trees-many of them mature and about 40 years old-to widen this 'royal' stretch for smoother traffic flow. They have moved the state government, warned the Palike, and plan to seek judicial intervention. Public meetings to plan the resistance strategy will start from Saturday, November 20, 2010.

"Over my dead body," declared one student leader, a member of a group called Wild Forever Foundation (WFF). Students have taken the lead by pasting on adult trees on the road here a plea written on a paper, with a sad smiley emoticon: "Don't kill me, please," the trees appear to say. In a cat-and-mouse game over the past few weeks, students pasted the posters by day, and found them torn down by night. The youth would set about making more posters and pasting them again, the next day.

"This is atrocious, completely unacceptable," remarked Vinay Srinivas of the non-governmental organisation Hasiru Usiru, which has been at the forefront of the public gatherings against felling of trees. "Despite strong and widespread public opposition, and considering also the questionable benefits of road widening, the BBMP presses ahead with road widening at Bellary Road (from Mekhri Circle to Cauvery Theatre) and Jayamahal Main Road (Mekhri Circle to Cantonment Junction). There is just no public consultation, no study of the possible impact of these moves, no concern to find less destructive alternatives."

"The number of vehicles will only keep growing, and widening the road won't make a difference in the long run. Besides, crossing wider roads is more difficult. Pedestrians, the elderly, the disabled and children will all be worse off for wider roads. Moreover, 856 trees are marked for felling, many of them decades old. The neighbourhood will be that much poorer for the loss of green cover, shade and fresh air," Srinivas said.

Preran Chowdary, a student of the pre-university course and also a member of the Wild Forever Foundation, said that a team from the group met the state forest minister CH Vijayashankar on Thursday, November 18, 2010 and urged him to intervene to save so many trees. The minister has reportedly assured them that he would visit the spot and consult officials. "Will those set to saw off so many full-grown trees produce as many trees in 50 years? Don't they want oxygen?" asked Chowdary, in anguish.

The solidarity forum, Hasiru Usiru, the WFF, students and residents had planned a public meeting at the Raman Research Institute on Saturday, November 20, 2010. Among those slated to attend were BBMP commissioner Siddaiah, the chief engineer of the BBMP, and H Ravindra, chairman, BBMP standing committee for major works.

Shashank RB, a student of St Joseph's School, said that residents have collected signatures from 500 people in support of the move to stall felling of trees. Nagaraj, corporator of Ganganagar, also stood by the residents. Shashank said that the civic agency ought to look at alternatives before widening roads.

Kathyayini Chamaraj, a prominent civic activist, said, "It is sad that the Palike does not listen to the public outcry." She added that she would throw her lot in with those citizens resisting the move to fell trees. "The city cannot afford loss of more trees. It would be disastrous," she said.

Dwindling green cover, price for development - Anoo Bhuyan - Deccan Herald Saturday, May 15, 2010
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/69623/dwindling-green-cover-price-development.html
Bangalore has seen itself turn into a 'barren' and dusty capital
A stretch of the Jayamahal Road proposed for widening which entails felling of as many as 41 trees. DH Photo
A stretch of the Jayamahal Road proposed for widening which entails felling of as many as 41 trees. DH Photo

Once known for its green canopy and the salubrious climate, Bangalore over the past two years (May 2008 to May 2010) has seen itself turn into a 'barren' and dusty capital of the Karnataka State.

Reason: The hectic development projects that have overshadowed the City  for the past 24 months (May 2008 to May 2010).

And no better example to provide than the one kilometre stretch on Jayamahal Road near Munireddypalya which is all set to lose as many as 41 trees for a proposed road widening project. The road from Mekhri Circle to the Doordarshan TV Tower is perhaps the only solace for the motorists to take cover under the heat that rages during the day.

Ask the residents, mostly Defence personnel, who say the tree cover plays a vital role in protecting their lives. From fruit bearing mango trees to the more expensive of the mahagony (teakwood variety) specimen, the 40 trees provide the much-needed extensive green cover and relief from the heat.

Road widening
Adjoining the stretch where the proposed road widening is to take place are the residences of the defence officers who seem to be quite attached to their abode.

"Houses on this road are from the colonial era. The structures are already weak and the proposed construction work could harm the buildings further," said Mridula Thapa, wife of a defence personnel.

The BBMP Forest Department officials claim that of the 40 trees that have been identified for felling by the Major Roads Department, but permission is yet to be granted. However, nearly 15 trees are reportedly dead at their roots and are likely to die a natural death.

The officials also criticised the contractors for being careless during their work and damaging the few healthy trees on the street.

"They (contractors) have been quite negligent in carrying out work to make temporary arrangements for movement of traffic in the area. They have damaged the stumps of well grown mahagony trees that are quite valuable," said the official.

According to the official, the BBMP is currently laying a service road as a temporary arrangement till there is clearance from the High Court for the road widening project.

With the road widening projects across the City under the Rs 22,000 crore mega plan being fought in the High Court, the fate of these 40 majestic trees hang in balance. The Palike anxiously awaits this decision to carry on its ambitious plan of widening the roads. So where is the solution to check the unprecedented felling of trees for development?

Not a solution
Dasrathi, an environmental activist who has studied the traffic problem states that no amount of road widening has helped the City in reducing the traffic chaos. From Sankey Road to Hosur Road beyond the Silk Board, the widened stretch has not solved the problem.

Perhaps, it is time for better and more futuristic ideas which can serve as the only saviour for the depleting tree cover in the City.

Green massacre - Bangalore Mirror - Suchith Kidiyoor - Friday, October 22, 2010 Photo Bangalore Mirror
http://www.bangaloremirror.com/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=1&contentid=20101022201010220659096983fadbeb0
More than 850 (official figure/number) to 1223 (actual/unofficial figure/number) trees on Jayamahal Road will be gone in a month's time to make way for more vehicles of pollution. Around 1,000 new vehicles hit the Bangalore city's roads everyday.
Green massacre - Bangalore Mirror - Friday, October 22, 2010
Jayamahal Road widening project will cost Rs 34-38 crore. For every tree 'officially' cut in the past four years, more than 80 new vehicles have got added to the streets of Bangalore.

Between 2006 to 2010 as per government records
Trees axed in Bangalore city for developmental projects like road-widening->0,07,000
Trees axed in Bangalore city for developmental projects like metro------------>0,03,000
Vehicles registered--------------------------------------------------------------------------->8,00,000

Between 2006 to 2010 according to the green activists / environmentalists
Trees axed in Bangalore city for developmental projects like road-widening->2,75,000

State Transport Department statistics
New vehicles hitting Bangalore's roads everyday->1,000

Current vehicular population of 34.90 lakh, a majority are
01) Two-wheelers----->24,00,000
02) Private Cars ------>01,00,000
03) Cabs and Taxis ->00,50,407
Total---------------------->35,50,407 lakh

For a city that still has the pretension of being a haven for trees, and carries the label of the Garden City of India, the ratio will soon get further skewed. As many as 856 to 1223 trees will be on the chopping block to widen the Jayamahal Road - a 5-km stretch from Cantonment Station to Mehkri Circle - so that the carbon mon-oxide-belching vehicles get more breathing space for a smooth ride.

And the 856 to 1223 trees will be axed in just one month. In that one month, the city will have added an estimated 30,000 cars, two-wheelers and buses to its vehicular population.

So out goes oxygen, and enter air and noise pollution in Namma Bengaluru or Hamaara Bengaluru (Our Bengaluru / Bangalore).

The development-at-any-cost mantra of the city's powers-that-be couldn't have got more brazen. To think of Bangalore as Garden City may be a quaint bit of nostalgia, circa 2010, but one still hoped that there were limits to the eco-myopia of our netas and babus. The case of the Jayamahal road-widening project - and the attendant destruction of a mind-numbing 856 to 1223 trees - shows us how naive we can be!

Besides, the 'smoother traffic flow' on Jayamahal Road that the proponents of the project are holding out will end up being a zero sum game some years down the line, what with the city's burgeoning vehicular population. Consider this: around 1,000 new vehicles hit the city's roads everyday.

CABINET NOD
As many as 856 to 1223 trees are set to be axed when the project to widen Jayamahal Road (from the Cantonment railway station to Mehkri circle) and the stretch from Mehkri circle to BDA circle gets underway. The state cabinet has already given the green signal and sanctioned Rs 34 crore for the project, which will be taken up by BBMP.

Even as the forest cell of BBMP is yet to receive an 'in-house' application from the civic body's major roads department (as on Friday, October 22, 2010), it is learnt that all the trees identified for the project will be axed within the next 30 days, and the road-widening work will be completed by June 2011.

Vinay, an activist with Hasiru Usiru, said, "It is for the first time that over 800 trees are being chopped for just one road. Earlier, they had widened Bellary Road but it is once again saturated with traffic. We will raise our objections with the mayor."

Officialspeak: Only 10,000 trees axed in four years 2006-2010.

For a city that prided itself on its green cover, there are sadly no exact statistics on the number of trees lost to the spreading concrete jungle. While BBMP's forest cell maintains that only 10,000 trees have been axed to make way for infrastructure projects in the last four years, green activists peg the number at a whopping 2.75 lakh trees across the city.

According to the official break-up of trees chopped between 2006 and 2010, 7,000 trees were lost to road-widening projects while 3,000 trees were axed for the sake of Namma Metro.

Environmentalists claim the official figure is ridiculously low. Seshadri of Hasiru Usiru said, "Bangalore's green cover has been depleting rapidly, more so in the last four years, as all kinds of infrastructure and realty projects were taken up without giving any serious thought to greenery. Our enquiries with the three tree-cutting squads attached to BBMP revealed that each of these teams has cut close to 80,000 trees in the last four years." Though the forest cell states that it has compensated by planting about 3.50 lakh saplings every year, it is not forthcoming on the survival rate of the saplings.

Rampant road hogs
Meanwhile, according to state transport department statistics, approximately 1,000 new vehicles hit Bangalore's roads everyday. Of the current vehicular population of 34.90 lakh, a majority are two-wheelers - 24 lakh. There are around one lakh private cars and 50,407 cabs and taxis.

Magnanimous royals give up 16 acres for road widening Project - Kushala - Bangalore Mirror - Thursday, February 17, 2011
http://www.bangaloremirror.com/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=1&contentid=201102172011021707371552287bd693 

Magnanimous royals give up 16 acres for road widening Project Bangalore Mirror - Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jayamahal Road - Bangalore Mirror Thursday, February 17, 2011

The road widening project requires hundreds of trees to be axed in the Bangalore Palace premises itself. Nearly 400 odd trees abutting the palace near Bellary Road and Mehkri Circle will go.

"The way trees are being hacked for widening of roads is sheer tragedy," Wadiyar lamented. "The Mysore-Bangalore road is a classic example. The beautiful canopy could have been saved. Bangalore was called the garden city because of its parks and rain trees. They need to be preserved."

10,000 trees to replace 911 - Times of India Tuesday, January 04, 2011
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/10000-trees-to-replace-911/articleshow/7213753.cms
BBMP has been notorious in cutting trees for road widening.

BBMP said 911 trees will have to be axed on this 4.36 km stretch, but ATREE, a green NGO, says it's much higher, about 1223 trees. These stretches are 90ft wide and BBMP wants to make them 140 ft.

Vinay Srinivasa of Hasiru Usiru told TOI that the detailed project report of the work does not talk about number of trees to be cut. "We oppose road widening as it will only create a bottleneck near Windsor Manor bridge. Let BBMP call for a public meeting to discuss this issue," said Srinivasa.

BBMP Committee members also inspected Chowdaiah Road which is proposed to be widened.

What does the report say?
Dr Harini Nagendra, urban ecology coordinator, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and The Environment (ATREE), did a survey on the environmental impact of tree felling as a consequence of proposed road widening at Jaymahal Road and Bellary Road.

The report states there are 1223 trees of 41 species. These include large sacred trees like the peepal, trees with important biodiversity benefits like the country fig, and economically important species like sandal, teak and pongemia. Further, there are several massive rain trees, African tulips and copper pods. Although these are exotic species, they have large canopies, provide shade and reduce pollution, and have been here for over 150 years. Many local birds, insects and wildlife species have adapted to their presence.

Waiting issue
The 1.6 km stretch between BDA Junction and Mehkri Circle on Jayamahal Road and 2.76 km road from Mehkri Circle to Cantonment railway station will be widened. Bangalore Palace is one of them and BBMP has acquired 16 acres from the erstwhile royal family subject to a few conditions. The Supreme Court is yet to decide on the land ownership issue. BBMP has acquired land and is building a compound wall.

Citizens take a stand against tree felling - The Hindu Monday, November 22, 2010
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Bangalore/article905218.ece 
SEEKING ACTION: People formed a human chain and held placards during their protest against the BBMP in Bangalore on Sunday, November 21, 2010. Photo: K. Murali Kumar
SEEKING ACTION: People formed a human chain and held placards during their protest against the BBMP in Bangalore on Sunday, November 21, 2010. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

The BBMP is planning to axe trees to widen Jayamahal Road

"What will be so green about the 'Garden City' if the corporation cuts down all the trees? Should we even call Bangalore the 'Garden City' anymore," asked Stuti Shah, a class 10 student.

This was the question posed by a large number of people opposing the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike's move to fell trees to widen Jayamahal Road. Around 856 to 1223 trees that line the road are in danger of being cut down.

Activists, students, members of Bangalore Cycling Club, Wild Forever Foundation, Hasiru Usiru and concerned citizens staged a demonstration against the BBMP here on Sunday, November 21, 2010.

The protesters showed their concern by hugging the trees. They formed a human chain on Jayamahal Road and held placards with slogans such as: "We need smarter roads not wider roads."

Deepa Hallyal, a doctor and activist, said, "We do not need widening of roads. All the space that is going waste owing to lack of maintenance should be targeted rather than the trees, - Chopping down trees also displaces many birds and squirrels," she added.

Members of Bangalore Cycling Club were all geared up and demonstrated a better way to travel. "Cycling not only reduces traffic congestion but it is also eco-friendly. I cycle 20 km a day from home to office and back," said Kartik Pannapa, marketing manager with Manthan Systems.

"Traffic management is required. We require lung space and they should create more of it," said Pushpa Achanta, activist and writer.

Simple solutions will save Jayamahal's 856 trees - Aarthi R - Times of India November 25, 2010
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-11-25/bangalore/28248741_1_bbmp-h-ravindra-main-road
Jayamahal main road has hit the headlines recently because of protests from citizens about the government's decision to fell hundreds of trees to widen the road, all in the name of easing traffic congestion. It's being pointed out that the problem essentially lies at the two ends of the road at the junctions, hence it makes no sense to chop trees, if solutions can be found to ease congestion at the two ends.

The trees on the road sport signs saying, "Please don't kill me please," with last weekend witnessing a public meeting and formation of human chain to protest against road widening on 5 km of Bellary Road and Jaymahal main road. So far trees have been left alone. But there's no guarantee that they won't face the axe in the near future.

Simple solutions will save Jayamahal's 856 trees - Aarthi R - Times of India Thursday, November 25, 2010
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Simple-solutions-will-save-Jayamahals-856-trees/articleshow/6984157.cms 
One of the most beautiful avenues in Bangalore, the Jayamahal main road, can retain its character, charm and critically, the 856 trees, if BBMP were to look at other options like signal synchronisation, junction improvement or even grade separators, say urban planners.

The main problem with the project is that most related works have already begun and are at various stages of progression. The inner wall of the palace has already been demolished and reconstructed in most places. According to BBMP sources, the works had started even before the approval from the state government that landed just two-three weeks back. The lack of transparency is another worry. Even the detailed project report for the Bellary Road widening has nothing more than overall figures.

Voices of protest
"The road really doesn't need to be widened cutting 856 trees. Only two junctions are a problem as the signals very often don't work properly there. Consider the alternatives. Most projects are taken up without any planning or public consultation."
-- Sania Khan, a resident for 15 years

" For 30,000 people going to airport, should we cut down 856 trees on this road?"
- Vinay Srinivasa, Hasiru Usiru

HERE ARE THE SOLUTIONS
"All road-widening projects should be put on hold till there is greater clarity on what is the holistic solution for city. We cannot look at isolated stretches. There is no city widening plan. The larger plan should have elements of public and private transport. They should freeze arbitrary road widening projects. City planners should put out what is the city-wide plan for traffic and mobility. Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) should be the integrator agency."
- V Ravichandar, Chairman, Feedback Consulting

Karnataka High Court to BBMP: Remove deadwood Times of India February 10, 2011
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Court-to-BBMP-Remove-deadwood/articleshow/7463812.cms
The high court has said it would be better for the citizenry of Bangalore if deadwood is removed from the BBMP at the earliest. "Engineers, government officers and sub-registrars are part of a caucus. They are worse than terrorists, terrorizing citizens of Bangalore,'" Justice Rammohan Reddy observed. He adjourned hearing of the petitions filed by residents of Metro Bankers enclave near HAL on Old Airport Road.

"Give the names of officers who looked the other way when these two five-storey buildings were coming up. The petitioners who were gullible customers need to be compensated," the judge said. The matter is related to non-grant of electricity connection.

Karnataka High Court intervenes to check tree felling Deccan Herald Saturday February 19, 2011
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/139070/hc-intervenes-check-tree-felling.html
The High Court on Friday directed the State government to file objections in connection with the indiscriminate felling of trees in the City.

Hearing a suo motu petition, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice A S Bopanna directed the State to file objections within two weeks and has appointed Advocate Vaishali Hegde as amicus curie to assist the court.

Following media reports, Justice Kumar had on Saturday, November 6, 2010 written to the authorities about felling trees for road widening and had expressed concern over the disappearing greenery despite various regulations.

Justice Shylendra Kumar had suspected the existence of a tree mafia in operation, controlling the authorities to ensure chopping of trees to help industries dependent on supply of timber and wood products. In his letter, the judge had stated that the traffic congestion in the City is not due to the narrow roads, but due to lack of proper planning, particularly to regulate traffic.

Stating that the administrators have failed to protect trees which are over 100 years old, the Court has said the matter should be examined by the High Court as a PIL.

The petition says that BBMP has violated provisions under Forest Act 1927, Karnataka Forest Act 1963, Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act 1976, Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 and Environment (Protection) Act 1986.

Stating that there is no justification for the proposition that the felling will ease traffic flow, the Court has stated that the orders passed by Deputy Director, forest and tree officer, Commissioner of Police and Department of Town Planning are illegal and blatantly an arbitrary exercise of power.

The petition also stated that any order by tree officer to felling amounts to the violation of Article 14 and termed it as ultra vires (beyond their powers). The court has termed the notification issued by Department of Town planning to fell tree as prima facie illegal and has sought as an interim prayer to defer the felling until the court is satisfied to the legality of the ongoing road widening project.

It has also sought directions to constitute a Metropolitan Planning Committee and an order to replant trees in necessary proportions so as to maintain the standard as stipulated under Section 7 (c) of Karnataka Tree Preservation Act 1976. The petition has also sought to set up a tree court to assist tree officer to ensure proper decision on urban forestry.

Say No to Bangalore road widening Online Wednesday, August 11, 2010
http://www.commonfloor.com/stories/say-no-to-bangalore-road-widening-online-506
Say no to road widening Online! (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/no-to-road-widening-in-bangalore)

DNA: Bangalore - Bangalore road widening rage goes online - Aparajita Ray - Wednesday, August 11, 2010
http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_bangalore-road-widening-rage-goes-online_1421805-all

BBMP's road widening project will displace over 2 lakh people in the city - Staff Reporter - Monday, July 05, 2010
http://www.mybangalore.com/article/0710/bbmps-road-widening-project-will-displace-over-2-lakh-people-in-the-city-.html
Meanwhile an online petition has been launched to fight against the road widening project, where the citizens are demanding that all road widening activities be stopped. Also to appoint a quasi-judicial body to oversee all matters related to infrastructure development and to protect the interests of displaced tenants.

Please click here to sign the online petition - Say no to road widening!

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save1223trees/

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-856-trees-jayamahal-road-bangalore/

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/sankey/

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/4/say-no-to-sankey-road-widening/ 

Conclusion: In the light of all the above-mentioned incontrovertible / undeniable captioned photos, facts and figures we appeal to everyone concerned to intervene at the earliest and to immediately Stop and re-evaluate illegal and irrational ongoing road-widening work in Bangalore http://www.petitiononline.com/dntwiden/ and tree fellings in the other cities too. We also appeal to the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India not to give permission for the felling of trees in Bangalore City for which the BBMP and the Karnataka State Government are desperately, eagerly and anxiously waiting for.
Karnataka High Court intervenes to check tree felling Deccan Herald Saturday February 19, 2011
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/139070/hc-intervenes-check-tree-felling.html

This petition has been addressed to The Hon'ble Supreme Court (SC) of India, President, Prime Minister (PM), National Advisory Council (NAC), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC), Karnataka Governor / Guv, Karnataka Chief Minister (CM), Karnataka Chief Secretary (CS), Karnataka Forest Department (KFD),  Bruhat / Bruhath Bangalore / Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Union Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Karnataka Lokayukta, Agenda for Bangalore / Bengaluru Infrastructure Development (ABIDe) and Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) and Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA), Karnataka Urban Development Department (KUDD), Karnataka Transport Department (KTD), Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR), Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of Legislative Assembly / Council (MLAs / MLCs), Mayor & Corporators / Councillors.

http://www.facebook.com/tanveerindian

http://twitter.com/tanveer_indian

To The Hon'ble Supreme Court, NAC, NHRC, KSHRC, President, PM, Karnataka Guv, CM, Chief Secy (CS), KFD,  BBMP,  BDA, MoUD, DULT, BMRDA, BMLTA, Karnataka Lokayukta, ABIDe, KUD, KTD, DPAR, MPs, MLAs/MLCs, Mayor & Corporators / Councillors.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-856-trees-jayamahal-road-bangalore/ has been created on Sun, November 28, 2010 and last updated on Tue, March 29, 2011 @  06:00 hrs Indian Std. Time http://www.petitiononline.com/856trees/

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save1223trees/ has been created on Thu, March 10, 2011 and updated on Wed, March 16, 2011 @  07:55 hrs Indian Std. Time

This is a PDF version of the active, open, comprehensive and dynamic (non-static) petition http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-856-trees-jayamahal-road-bangalore/ with 269 signatures but without images / photos as on Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Petition Created: Sun, November 28, 2010 Last Updated: Tue, March 29, 2011 Petition Creator: Syed Tanveeruddin

This petition has been created by Syed Tanveeruddin for the affected / aggrieved residents of Bangalore / Karnataka / India and for the environmentally / ecologically conscious and concerned residents / citizens of Bangalore / Bengaluru / Karnataka / India / World. http://www.facebook.com/tanveerindian http://twitter.com/tanveer_indian a resident of Siddharthanagar, Mysore, Karnataka email address indian [dot] tanveer [at] aol [dot] in

Tree-killers having a free run in Bangalore - Panorama - Harini Nagendra - Deccan Herald Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The price of a wide road: 1223 trees! Deccan Chronicle Tuesday, January 4, 2011
http://www.deccanchronicle.com/bengaluru/price-wide-road-1223-trees-144
The BBMP has locked horns with an NGO by making known its plans to fell a sizable number of trees in the process of widening Bellary Road. According to the BBMP, 911 trees would have to be cut, but as per ATREE, the NGO, the number would be nearer 1,223 trees.

1,223 trees face the axe - City - Poornima Nataraj - Deccan Herald Thursday, December 30, 2010
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/124817/1223-trees-face-axe.html
Widening of Jayamahal Road-Bellary Road could prove costly
Greens' Plea: Posters urging authorities not to cut trees on Jayamahal Road DH Photo

As many as 1,223 trees belonging to 41 species are all set to be razed for the road-widening project on Jayamahal Road and Bellary Road leading to Mekhri Circle.

Although there have been massive protests from green groups to save the green patch on this stretch, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is expected to start the work anytime.

Recently, an environment NGO, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) conducted a survey on trees that were marked for uprooting. The survey, headed by Dr Harini Nagendra, Urban Ecological Coordinator, ATREE, found that there are several massive exotic species of rain trees including African tulips and Copper pods which form large canopies. These trees have been around for over 150 years.

The survey was conducted in three sections, where the first dealt with the pavements on these roads which had 183 trees of 15 species. However, there are chances of saving a few trees here by incorporating them into road medians. The second section dealt with the area within the Palace compound, on the eastern edge of Bellary Road, between Mekhri Circle and the flyover near Windsor Manor. This stretch has 525 trees of 26 species and was found to have a greater biodiversity.

The third section on Jaymahal Road, between the Cantonment bridge and Mekhri Circle, has over 515 trees with a diverse set of 30 species. A number of bird nests were also observed on taller trees here, indicating the importance of these habitats for bird population in the neighbourhood.

Environmental impact
The survey found that trees on these roads reduce mid-day air temperature by five to seven degrees Celsius and the road surface temperatures by 30 degrees Celsius. From the size, it is clear that these huge trees are decades old and uprooting them will have a major impact on the urban heat islands, biodiversity, air pollution and temperature in this area.

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.

Teens try to thwart BBMP axe - Manasi Paresh Kumar - Bangalore Mirror Friday, November 05, 2010
http://www.bangaloremirror.com/index.aspx?Page=article&sectname=News%20-%20City&sectid=10&contentid=2010110520101105044143938901c7e75
"The first question that comes to mind is "what is wrong with these guys?" says Bhakti, a second year PUC student from Mount Carmel College, who came up with the idea of taking on the mighty civic body.

Nandita Chalwa and Srividya V P, a couple of ninth standard students of Sindhi School, are disgusted. "The administration's argument is that they plant two saplings for every tree they cut down. How does it balance out when you are a cutting down 100-year-old trees? By the time the saplings grow (if they grow at all), even we'll be dead," argues Srividya.

Palike draws bike lanes on tree lines - Deccan Herald Monday, September 20, 2010
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/97920/palike-draws-bike-lanes-tree.html
Double take
The civic body wants to fell over 850 to 1223 trees in the name of road widening, a project for which it has drawn flak from the City's environmentalists and tree lovers.

The BBMP has already sent / forwarded / submitted a proposal to the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) to seek the consent of the advocate general before it moves the Supreme Court and seek the go-ahead to fell the old trees that would make way for the Rs 38-crore road-widening project.

The Palike's plans
to give the City wider roads at the cost of green. Part of the BBMP's concern for cyclists stems from the City's increasingly polluted air, aggressive motorists and pervasive lack of respect for traffic laws which do not make Bangalore's streets very safe for two-wheelers.

The tree felling and bike path construction plans are on the BBMP's drawing board and subject to clearances.

Tree-killers having a free run in Bangalore - Panorama - Harini Nagendra - Deccan Herald Tuesday, January 04, 2011
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/126024/tree-killers-having-free-run.html
Anyone who has lived in Bangalore for at least a few weeks would have noticed the shade covered, green canopied roads that still exist in different parts of the city, and the unforgettable, stress-relieving experience of walking or driving down one of them.

Those who have lived in the city for longer would know many such once-wooded avenues, now converted into burning barren asphalted lengths of road.

Tree felling in Bangalore is not a recent phenomenon. Yet, the scale and intensity of tree felling has increased so significantly over the past 3 to 5 years 2007-2010/2005-2010, as to leave many of us aghast. Tens of thousands of trees have been sacrificed in the name of road widening, flyovers, underpasses and the metro.

This article discusses the results of two field surveys conducted on Nanda road, where trees were cut in 2009 for the metro, and near Mekhri circle, where tree felling for road widening has been planned in the coming weeks.

Nostalgia
The Nanda road and the adjacent Laxman Rao park once provided one of the most spectacular urban sights of greenery in the crowded Bangalore city. We found 897 trees marked for metro-related cutting, from a diverse set of 25 species, including shade giving copper pods and rain trees, vibrantly flowering Tabebuias, and biodiversity-friendly neem, tamarind and honge trees.

Over a fourth of them
were large trees with a diameter greater than two metres.
Ecologists and naturalists say that many bird species depended on this green corridor for their movement between Lalbagh and the Bannerghatta National Park. With all the disturbance and construction activity on the road, and the absence of many of these trees now, the impacts on urban biodiversity, birdlife and urban wildlife has been severe.

Yet, we still have a chance to save the 1,223 trees adjacent to Mekhri circle that are marked out for felling. There are 41 species, including large sacred trees like the peepal, economically important species like sandal, teak and honge, and massive rain trees, African tulips and copper pods which have been around in Bangalore for over 150 years.

Some of them are extremely large trees
, with girths greater than three metres, providing a sheltered habitat within the Palace area for urban wildlife and birds. As the urban ecology research shows, trees play an important role in the city, reducing air pollution levels by as much as 75 per cent, and decreasing mid-day air temperatures by 5-7% C, mitigating the impacts of global warming and urban climate change.

We must recognise that the
environmental benefits lost by the cutting down of large trees cannot be replaced by the planting of small saplings in a short time span. At least, the 183 trees in the sidewalk should be protected on a median, as has been done in/on Sarjapur road. At least 20 surviving saplings should replace every mature tree that is cut. Only tall, healthy saplings that are at least a year old must be planted.

Unlike many of the newly planted unsuitable species we see along the median of the city's large roads today, which are selected in an ad hoc manner by the contractors who are hired to plant trees, there should be a careful and scientific selection of species that are biodiversity attracting and shade giving, with stable root structures that are resistant to pollution.

The residents from the surrounding neighbourhoods should be engaged by partners in the effort to green the city, so that they can have a say in ensuring the ideal locations and best possible survival rates of these saplings. If this is not done, and we continue with 'business as usual,' we do not have any chance of ensuring the city's survival as a green and liveable location in the years to come.

BBMP waits for SC's nod to fell 856 trees
 - Wednesday, September 29, 2010
http://expressbuzz.com/biography/bbmp-waits-for-sc%u2019s-nod-to-fell-856-trees/210852.html
On one hand the city corporation has earmarked crores of rupees in its budget to build tree parks and on the other hand, it is seeking permission to fell as many as 856 to 1223 trees to widen a road.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the state government have approached the Supreme Court to file an interim application wherein they have sought permission to cut 856 to 1223 trees in the city. The trees will be felled to widen a 5.5-km stretch on Palace Road. The stretch in question starts from BDA junction and goes around Jayamahal.

BBMP Chief Engineer (Major Roads), Chikrayappa, informed that they were waiting for the approval of the Supreme Court to start work on the stretch. He said once the work started, it would be completed within 12 months.

The BBMP's road widening drive has seen stiff opposition from resident welfare organisations in the city. It was alleged that road widening in the city was being taken up in an unscientific manner. Even Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister S Sureshkumar had spoken against it.

BBMP defends widening of Jayamahal Road - The Hindu Tuesday, January 4, 2011
http://www.hindu.com/2011/01/04/stories/2011010463090400.htm
Palace to lose 16 acres, relief depends on court verdict
SURPRISE PACKAGE: This scenic lake is right in the heart of the city, at the Palace Grounds. The BBMP is taking over 16 acres of the land to widen Jayamahal Road, felling hundreds of trees. - Photo K. Gopinathan - The Hindu

The city will lose its green cover further what with the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) going ahead with the widening of both Jayamahal Road (Cantonment Station to Mekhri Circle) and Bellary Road (Mekhri Circle to BDA Junction).

According to a survey conducted by a non-governmental organisation, ATREE, more than 1,200 trees will have to be felled, which is at odds with BBMP's figure of 911.

The BBMP's Standing Committee for Major Works inspected the stretches on Monday, January 3, 2011 and claimed that widening would be completed in a year. Both the roads would be widened to measure around 150 ft (30 m to 45 m) at a cost of Rs. 35 crore.

More protests to stop road widening - Times of India Monday, February 7, 2011
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/More-protests-to-stop-road-widening/articleshow/7439631.cms
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-02-07/bangalore/28375124_1_protests-bellary-road-environmental-activists
Posters in hand and voices loud in protest... a group of concerned citizens took to the streets to save trees on Jayamahal road, that are to be felled for widening the stretch.

The group said they were angered that though the road widening work was supposed to take place only after public discussion, work progressed unabated here. Calling the current project of making Jayamahal road, Bellary road and Suranjan Das road wider as illegal, the environmental activists said it was in violation of judgments of the high court issued for public interest litigations WP7107/2008 and WP13241/2009.

At what cost, that wider road to airport in Bangalore? - Vidya Iyengar - DNA Monday, February 7, 2011
http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_at-what-cost-that-wider-road-to-airport-in-bangalore_1504280
Why are large infrastructure projects taken up without public consultation? Riled by the repeated failure of civic authorities to keep their word, a group of over 100 citizens marched in protest at Jayamahal Road on Sunday, February 6 afternoon.

"Padachaarigala Ulisi (Save the pedestrians)," the sloganeers shouted, seeking that pedestrians be part of the planning of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP); "Ulisi, Ulisi, maragala Ulisi (Save, Save, Save the trees)," they said, calling out that the trees be saved.

While the BBMP has claimed that 857 trees would be axed to widen the roads in this area, the marchers on Sunday, February 6 said that they had counted the trees earmarked for felling; they number 1,223. Many of these trees have achieved a huge girth and a large canopy, being nearly 80 years old. The BBMP proposes to plant saplings eight inches long to replace them. "What sort of plan is that?" the protesters questioned.

After a public protest by residents in the area in November 2010, the chairman of the BBMP's standing committee on major works, H Ravindra, had promised that a public meeting would be held. A meeting was scheduled for December 10, 2010 which was later cancelled. Repeated attempts to schedule another meeting were futile.

The protesters pointed out that provisions of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961, had been breached: No scheme had been drafted for the widening of Jayamahal and Bellary roads, and no plans were made available in the public domain.

Environmentalist Suresh Heblikar joined the protesters on Sunday, February 6, 2011. He questioned the priorities of the government, pointing out that even though fewer people regularly commute to the airport than to Majestic Bus station, the authorities are keen to have wider roads leading to the airport.

The protesters said that the proposal to make these roads eight-lane ones would harm pedestrians. They pointed out that in the first five weeks after the new airport opened in May 2008, 17 pedestrians were killed on Bellary Road.

BBMP has not considered alternatives to road widening, the protesters claimed. Citing statistics from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, the protesters said repeated widening of roads would serve no purpose, as nearly 40,000 new cars are registered each month. "With the number of cars increasing, we will not see any reduction in congestion," said Shaheen Shasa, volunteer, Hasiru Usiru.

NGOs slam BBMP betrayal on trees Deccan Herald Monday, February 7, 2011
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/135479/ngos-slam-bbmp-betrayal-trees.html
Concerned over the loss of hundreds of trees adorning Bellary Road and Jayamahal Road, activists of NGOs, Hasiru Usiru and Save Bangalore Committee, staged a demonstration near Mekhri Circle, before taking out a procession towards Cauvery Theatre on Sunday, February 6, 2011.

Decrying what they termed as
a 'betrayal' by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) which had promised that it would not widen the thoroughfares without public consent, activists of the NGOs asserted that they would continue their movement until the proposed road-widening projects were shelved.

The protesters felt aggrieved with the BBMP
'mercilessly' chopping trees in the City depriving it of its once-famed greenery.

Speaking on the occasion, Ravi of the Save Bangalore Committee accused the BBMP of 'undervaluing' the loss of green cover.

"The civic agency claims nearly 860 trees would be axed on Bellary Road and Jayamahal Road to lay 150 feet four-lane roads. The brutal reality, however, is that at least 1,220 trees will be chopped," he contended.

Lamenting that no public representative was airing his views on conserving the green cover in this stretch though three corporators represent the area, Ravi alleged that the BBMP 'never listened' to the alternatives suggested so as to avoid tree-felling and road widening.

He said a lot of space could be created if car parking by the road side was banned.

Suresh Heblikar launched a scathing attack against the Palike for trying to solve the City's traffic woes by chopping the trees. He sought an explanation from the Palike authorities on measures it would take if the traffic problem persisted even after the roads were widened.

Struggle continues
Vinay Srinivas, an office-bearer of Hasiru Usiru, said the NGO would continue its movement until the BBMP dropped the plans of felling trees to accommodate more private vehicles on the stretch.

Later, the activists took out a rally from Mekhri Circle to Cauvery Junction to generate public support for their cause.

Road widening: residents stage protest against BBMP inaction - The Hindu Monday, February 7, 2011 - Karnataka - Bangalore
http://www.hindu.com/2011/02/07/stories/2011020761900300.htm
Nearly 100 people take part in the demonstration at Mehkri Circle - Small Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
SAVING TREES: Members of Eco Watch and Hasire Usiru staging a protest against road widening work at Mehkri Circle in Bangalore on Sunday, February 6, 2011. - The Hindu

Road widening: residents stage protest against BBMP inaction News - Cities - Bangalore - The Hindu Monday, February 7, 2011
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Bangalore/article1164316.ece 
Members of Eco Watch and Hasire Usiru and others protesting against road widening work at Mekhri Circle in Bangalore on Sunday, February 6, 2011. Big Photo: V Sreenivasa Murthy - The Hindu

Activists and residents staged a protest here on Sunday demanding action from the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on the issue of widening of Jayamahal and Bellary roads.

Nearly 100 people took part in the protest at Mehkri Circle to express anger against the BBMP for not keeping its promise of holding discussions with the group on the project. The group, consisting of residents and activists from Wild Forever Foundation, Hasiru Usiru and Save Bangalore Committee, had, in November 2010, staged a protest against the road-widening project and the resultant mass felling of trees.

They met H. Ravindra, chairman of the BBMP's standing committee on major works, who promised to hold discussions in December 2010 where people would be given an opportunity to air their concerns. As he had failed to do so, the activists staged the protest on Sunday, February 6, 2011 to remind the BBMP of his promise.

Environmentalist Suresh Heblikar alleged that the motive behind the project was to cater to the section of people that frequents the Bangalore International Airport (BIA). He said that this was being done at the expense of over a 1,000 trees. The activists pointed out that the saplings that were being planted as compensation for the loss of trees were going to take nearly 20 years to grow.

The risk that the road-widening project will cause to pedestrians was also discussed. The BBMP's plans to construct skywalks and pedestrian underpasses for a one-kilometre stretch is not feasible as the elderly, children, differently-abled and pregnant women would not be able to use these facilities, they said. The group now plans to submit a memorandum to Mayor S.K. Nataraj and decided to continue the struggle till the project was dropped.

At what cost, that wider road to airport? - www.daily.bhaskar.com Vidya Iyengar DNA
http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/BAN-at-what-cost-that-wider-road-to-airport-1827104.html 

Residents of Jayamahal go all out to save tree-lined street : DNA - PK Surendran -Daily News & Analysis Saturday, November 20, 2010, 12:24 IST
http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_residents-of-jayamahal-goes-all-out-to-save-tree-lined-street_1469392
Jayamahal goes all out to save tree-lined street - PK Surendran, DNA  - NDTV/DNA
http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/jayamahal-goes-all-out-to-save-tree-lined-street-67525
In a show of solidarity to save hundreds of trees and spare the pedestrians inconvenience, residents of the leafy Jayamahal Road, some 2,000 people including 500 school and college students, have decided to form a human chain on Sunday November 21, 2010 to protest the move to fell trees here to widen this 60-feet road into an 8-lane one.

Residents and youth here have joined forces to declare war against the move of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike to clear the road of as many as 856 trees-many of them mature and about 40 years old-to widen this 'royal' stretch for smoother traffic flow. They have moved the state government, warned the Palike, and plan to seek judicial intervention. Public meetings to plan the resistance strategy will start from Saturday, November 20, 2010.

"Over my dead body," declared one student leader, a member of a group called Wild Forever Foundation (WFF). Students have taken the lead by pasting on adult trees on the road here a plea written on a paper, with a sad smiley emoticon: "Don't kill me, please," the trees appear to say. In a cat-and-mouse game over the past few weeks, students pasted the posters by day, and found them torn down by night. The youth would set about making more posters and pasting them again, the next day.

"This is atrocious, completely unacceptable," remarked Vinay Srinivas of the non-governmental organisation Hasiru Usiru, which has been at the forefront of the public gatherings against felling of trees. "Despite strong and widespread public opposition, and considering also the questionable benefits of road widening, the BBMP presses ahead with road widening at Bellary Road (from Mekhri Circle to Cauvery Theatre) and Jayamahal Main Road (Mekhri Circle to Cantonment Junction). There is just no public consultation, no study of the possible impact of these moves, no concern to find less destructive alternatives."

"The number of vehicles will only keep growing, and widening the road won't make a difference in the long run. Besides, crossing wider roads is more difficult. Pedestrians, the elderly, the disabled and children will all be worse off for wider roads. Moreover, 856 trees are marked for felling, many of them decades old. The neighbourhood will be that much poorer for the loss of green cover, shade and fresh air," Srinivas said.

Preran Chowdary, a student of the pre-university course and also a member of the Wild Forever Foundation, said that a team from the group met the state forest minister CH Vijayashankar on Thursday, November 18, 2010 and urged him to intervene to save so many trees. The minister has reportedly assured them that he would visit the spot and consult officials. "Will those set to saw off so many full-grown trees produce as many trees in 50 years? Don't they want oxygen?" asked Chowdary, in anguish.

The solidarity forum, Hasiru Usiru, the WFF, students and residents had planned a public meeting at the Raman Research Institute on Saturday, November 20, 2010. Among those slated to attend were BBMP commissioner Siddaiah, the chief engineer of the BBMP, and H Ravindra, chairman, BBMP standing committee for major works.

Shashank RB, a student of St Joseph's School, said that residents have collected signatures from 500 people in support of the move to stall felling of trees. Nagaraj, corporator of Ganganagar, also stood by the residents. Shashank said that the civic agency ought to look at alternatives before widening roads.

Kathyayini Chamaraj, a prominent civic activist, said, "It is sad that the Palike does not listen to the public outcry." She added that she would throw her lot in with those citizens resisting the move to fell trees. "The city cannot afford loss of more trees. It would be disastrous," she said.

Dwindling green cover, price for development - Anoo Bhuyan - Deccan Herald Saturday, May 15, 2010
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/69623/dwindling-green-cover-price-development.html
Bangalore has seen itself turn into a 'barren' and dusty capital
A stretch of the Jayamahal Road proposed for widening which entails felling of as many as 41 trees. DH Photo

Once known for its green canopy and the salubrious climate, Bangalore over the past two years (May 2008 to May 2010) has seen itself turn into a 'barren' and dusty capital of the Karnataka State.

Reason: The hectic development projects that have overshadowed the City  for the past 24 months (May 2008 to May 2010).

And no better example to provide than the one kilometre stretch on Jayamahal Road near Munireddypalya which is all set to lose as many as 41 trees for a proposed road widening project. The road from Mekhri Circle to the Doordarshan TV Tower is perhaps the only solace for the motorists to take cover under the heat that rages during the day.

Ask the residents, mostly Defence personnel, who say the tree cover plays a vital role in protecting their lives. From fruit bearing mango trees to the more expensive of the mahagony (teakwood variety) specimen, the 40 trees provide the much-needed extensive green cover and relief from the heat.

Road widening
Adjoining the stretch where the proposed road widening is to take place are the residences of the defence officers who seem to be quite attached to their abode.

"Houses on this road are from the colonial era. The structures are already weak and the proposed construction work could harm the buildings further," said Mridula Thapa, wife of a defence personnel.

The BBMP Forest Department officials claim that of the 40 trees that have been identified for felling by the Major Roads Department, but permission is yet to be granted. However, nearly 15 trees are reportedly dead at their roots and are likely to die a natural death.

The officials also criticised the contractors for being careless during their work and damaging the few healthy trees on the street.

"They (contractors) have been quite negligent in carrying out work to make temporary arrangements for movement of traffic in the area. They have damaged the stumps of  well grown mahagony trees that are quite valuable," said the official.

According to the official, the BBMP is currently laying a service road as a temporary arrangement till there is clearance from the High Court for the road widening project.

With the road widening projects
across the City under the Rs 22,000 crore mega plan being fought in the High Court, the fate of these 40 majestic trees hang in balance. The Palike anxiously awaits this decision to carry on its ambitious plan of widening the roads. So where is the solution to check the unprecedented felling of trees for development?

Not a solution
Dasrathi, an environmental activist who has studied the traffic problem states that no amount of road widening has helped the City in reducing the traffic chaos. From Sankey Road to Hosur Road beyond the Silk Board, the widened stretch has not solved the problem.

Perhaps, it is time for better and more futuristic ideas which can serve as the only saviour for the depleting tree cover in the City.

Green massacre - Bangalore Mirror - - Suchith Kidiyoor - Friday, October 22, 2010 Photo Bangalore Mirror
http://www.bangaloremirror.com/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=1&contentid=20101022201010220659096983fadbeb0 
More than 850 (official figure/number) to 1223 (actual/unofficial figure/number) trees on Jayamahal Road will be gone in a month's time to make way for more vehicles of pollution. Around 1,000 new vehicles hit the Bangalore city's roads everyday.

Jayamahal Road widening project will cost Rs 34-38 crore. For every tree 'officially' cut in the past four years, more than 80 new vehicles have got added to the streets of Bangalore.

Between 2006 to 2010 as per government records
Trees axed in Bangalore city for developmental projects like road-widening->0,07,000
Trees axed in Bangalore city for developmental projects like metro------------>0,03,000
Vehicles registered--------------------------------------------------------------------------->8,00,000

Between 2006 to 2010 according to the green activists / environmentalists
Trees axed in Bangalore city for developmental projects like road-widening->2,75,000

State Transport Department statistics
New vehicles hitting Bangalore's roads everyday->1,000

Current vehicular population of 34.90 lakh, a majority are
01) Two-wheelers----->24,00,000
02) Private Cars ------>01,00,000
03) Cabs and Taxis ->00,50,407
Total---------------------->35,50,407 lakh

For a city that still has the pretension of being a haven for trees, and carries the label of the Garden City of India, the ratio will soon get further skewed. As many as 856 to 1223 trees will be on the chopping block to widen the Jayamahal Road - a 5-km stretch from Cantonment Station to Mehkri Circle - so that the carbon mon-oxide-belching vehicles get more breathing space for a smooth ride.

And the 856 to 1223 trees will be axed in just one month. In that one month, the city will have added an estimated 30,000 cars, two-wheelers and buses to its vehicular population.

So out goes oxygen, and enter air and noise pollution in Namma Bengaluru or Hamaara Bengaluru (Our Bengaluru / Bangalore).

The development-at-any-cost mantra of the city's powers-that-be couldn't have got more brazen. To think of Bangalore as Garden City may be a quaint bit of nostalgia, circa 2010, but one still hoped that there were limits to the eco-myopia of our netas and babus. The case of the Jayamahal road-widening project - and the attendant destruction of a mind-numbing 856 to 1223 trees - shows us how naive we can be!

Besides, the 'smoother traffic flow' on Jayamahal Road that the proponents of the project are holding out will end up being a zero sum game some years down the line, what with the city's burgeoning vehicular population. Consider this: around 1,000 new vehicles hit the city's roads everyday.

CABINET NOD
As many as 856 to 1223 trees are set to be axed when the project to widen Jayamahal Road (from the Cantonment railway station to Mehkri circle) and the stretch from Mehkri circle to BDA circle gets underway. The state cabinet has already given the green signal and sanctioned Rs 34 crore for the project, which will be taken up by BBMP.

Even as the forest cell of BBMP is yet to receive an 'in-house' application from the civic body's major roads department (as on Friday, October 22, 2010), it is learnt that all the trees identified for the project will be axed within the next 30 days, and the road-widening work will be completed by June 2011.

Vinay, an activist with Hasiru Usiru, said, "It is for the first time that over 800 trees are being chopped for just one road. Earlier, they had widened Bellary Road but it is once again saturated with traffic. We will raise our objections with the mayor."

Officialspeak: Only 10,000 trees axed in four years 2006-2010.

For a city that prided itself on its green cover, there are sadly no exact statistics on the number of trees lost to the spreading concrete jungle. While BBMP's forest cell maintains that only 10,000 trees have been axed to make way for infrastructure projects in the last four years (206-2010), green activists peg the number at a whopping 2.75 lakh trees across the city.

According to the official break-up of trees chopped between 2006 and 2010, 7,000 trees were lost to road-widening projects while 3,000 trees were axed for the sake of Namma Metro.

Environmentalists claim the official figure is ridiculously low. Seshadri of Hasiru Usiru said, "Bangalore's green cover has been depleting rapidly, more so in the last four years, as all kinds of infrastructure and realty projects were taken up without giving any serious thought to greenery. Our enquiries with the three tree-cutting squads attached to BBMP revealed that each of these teams has cut close to 80,000 trees in the last four years." Though the forest cell states that it has compensated by planting about 3.50 lakh saplings every year, it is not forthcoming on the survival rate of the saplings.

Rampant road hogs
Meanwhile, according to state transport department statistics, approximately 1,000 new vehicles hit Bangalore's roads everyday. Of the current vehicular population of 34.90 lakh, a majority are two-wheelers - 24 lakh. There are around one lakh private cars and 50,407 cabs and taxis.

Magnanimous royals give up 16 acres for road widening Project - Kushala - Bangalore Mirror - Thursday, February 17, 2011
http://www.bangaloremirror.com/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=1&contentid=201102172011021707371552287bd693 
Jayamahal Road - Bangalore Mirror Thursday, February 17, 2011

The road widening project requires hundreds of trees to be axed in the Bangalore Palace premises itself. Nearly 400 odd trees abutting the palace near Bellary Road and Mehkri Circle will go.

"The way trees are being hacked for widening of roads is sheer tragedy," Wadiyar lamented. "The Mysore-Bangalore road is a classic example. The beautiful canopy could have been saved. Bangalore was called the garden city because of its parks and rain trees. They need to be preserved."

10,000 trees to replace 911 - Times of India Tuesday, January 04, 2011
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/10000-trees-to-replace-911/articleshow/7213753.cms
BBMP has been notorious in cutting trees for road widening but now plans to make amends by planting 10,000 saplings. It claims these will compensate for the loss of green cover in the city's core areas.

After inspecting road-widening work on Bellary Road and Jayamahal Road on Monday, January 3, 2011 the major works standing committee members felt that trees should be restored.

BBMP said 911 trees will have to be axed on this 4.36 km stretch, but ATREE, a green NGO, says it's much higher, about 1223 trees. These stretches are 90ft wide and BBMP wants to make them 140 ft.

BBMP will spend about Rs 10 lakh for planting and maintaining these 10,000 saplings. But, environmentalists are up in arms. Vinay Srinivasa of Hasiru Usiru told TOI that the detailed project report of the work does not talk about number of trees to be cut. "We oppose road widening as it will only create a bottleneck near Windsor Manor bridge. Let BBMP call for a public meeting to discuss this issue," said Srinivasa.

No to basement parking
BBMP Committee members also inspected Chowdaiah Road which is proposed to be widened.

What does the report say?
Dr Harini Nagendra, urban ecology coordinator, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and The Environment (ATREE), did a survey on the environmental impact of tree felling as a consequence of proposed road widening at Jaymahal Road and Bellary Road.

The report states there are 1223 trees
of 41 species. These include large sacred trees like the peepal, trees with important biodiversity benefits like the country fig, and economically important species like sandal, teak and pongemia. Further, there are several massive rain trees, African tulips and copper pods. Although these are exotic species, they have large canopies, provide shade and reduce pollution, and have been here for over 150 years. Many local birds, insects and wildlife species have adapted to their presence.

Waiting issue
The 1.6 km stretch between BDA Junction and Mehkri Circle on Jayamahal Road and 2.76 km road from Mehkri Circle to Cantonment railway station will be widened. There are not many private properties here. Bangalore Palace is one of them and BBMP has acquired 16 acres from the erstwhile royal family subject to a few conditions. The Supreme Court is yet to decide on the land ownership issue. BBMP has acquired land and is building a compound wall.

Citizens take a stand against tree felling - The Hindu Monday, November 22, 2010
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Bangalore/article905218.ece 
SEEKING ACTION: People formed a human chain and held placards during their protest against the BBMP in Bangalore on Sunday, November 21, 2010. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

The BBMP is planning to axe trees to widen Jayamahal Road

"What will be so green about the 'Garden City' if the corporation cuts down all the trees? Should we even call Bangalore the 'Garden City' anymore," asked Stuti Shah, a class 10 student.

This was the question posed by a large number of people opposing the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike's move to fell trees to widen Jayamahal Road. Around 856 to 1223 trees that line the road are in danger of being cut down.

Activists, students, members of Bangalore Cycling Club, Wild Forever Foundation, Hasiru Usiru and concerned citizens staged a demonstration against the BBMP here on Sunday, November 21, 2010.

The protesters showed their concern by hugging the trees. They formed a human chain on Jayamahal Road and held placards with slogans such as: "We need smarter roads not wider roads."

Deepa Hallyal, a doctor and activist, said, "We do not need widening of roads. All the space that is going waste owing to lack of maintenance should be targeted rather than the trees, - Chopping down trees also displaces many birds and squirrels," she added.

Members of Bangalore Cycling Club were all geared up and demonstrated a better way to travel. "Cycling not only reduces traffic congestion but it is also eco-friendly. I cycle 20 km a day from home to office and back," said Kartik Pannapa, marketing manager with Manthan Systems.

"Traffic management is required. We require lung space and they should create more of it," said Pusha Achanta, activist and writer.

Simple solutions will save Jayamahal's 856 trees
- Aarthi R - Times of India November 25, 2010
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-11-25/bangalore/28248741_1_bbmp-h-ravindra-main-road
Jayamahal main road has hit the headlines recently because of protests from citizens about the government's decision to fell hundreds of trees to widen the road, all in the name of easing traffic congestion. It's being pointed out that the problem essentially lies at the two ends of the road at the junctions, hence it makes no sense to chop trees, if solutions can be found to ease congestion at the two ends.

The trees on the road sport signs saying, "Please don't kill me please," with last weekend witnessing a public meeting and formation of human chain to protest against road widening on 5 km of Bellary Road and Jaymahal main road. So far trees have been left alone. But there's no guarantee that won't face the axe in the near future.

Simple solutions will save Jayamahal's 856 trees - Aarthi R - Times of India Thursday, November 25, 2010
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Simple-solutions-will-save-Jayamahals-856-trees/articleshow/6984157.cms
One of the most beautiful avenues in Bangalore, the Jayamahal main road, can retain its character, charm and critically, the 856 trees, if BBMP were to look at other options like signal synchronisation, junction improvement or even grade separators, say urban planners.

The main problem with the project is that most related works have already begun and are at various stages of progression. The inner wall of the palace has already been demolished and reconstructed in most places. According to BBMP sources, the works had started even before the approval from the state government that landed just two-three weeks back. The lack of transparency is another worry. Even the detailed project report for the Bellary Road widening has nothing more than overall figures.

Voices of protest
"The road really doesn't need to be widened cutting 856 trees. Only two junctions are a problem as the signals very often don't work properly there. Consider the alternatives. Most projects are taken up without any planning or public consultation."
-- Sania Khan, a resident for 15 years

" For 30,000 people going to airport, should we cut down 856 trees on this road?"
- Vinay Srinivasa, Hasiru Usiru

HERE ARE THE SOLUTIONS
"All road-widening projects should be put on hold till there is greater clarity on what is the holistic solution for city. We cannot look at isolated stretches. There is no city widening plan. The larger plan should have elements of public and private transport. They should freeze arbitrary road widening projects. City planners should put out what is the city-wide plan for traffic and mobility. Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) should be the integrator agency."
- V Ravichandar, Chairman, Feedback Consulting

Karnataka High Court to BBMP: Remove deadwood Times of India February 10, 2011
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Court-to-BBMP-Remove-deadwood/articleshow/7463812.cms
The high court has said it would be better for the citizenry of Bangalore if deadwood is removed from the BBMP at the earliest. "Engineers, government officers and sub-registrars are part of a caucus. They are worse than terrorists, terrorizing citizens of Bangalore,'" Justice Rammohan Reddy observed. He adjourned hearing of the petitions filed by residents of Metro Bankers enclave near HAL on Old Airport Road.

"Give the names of officers who looked the other way when these two five-storey buildings were coming up. The petitioners who were gullible customers need to be compensated," the judge said. The matter is related to non-grant of electricity connection.

Karnataka High Court intervenes to check tree felling Deccan Herald Saturday February 19, 2011
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/139070/hc-intervenes-check-tree-felling.html
The High Court on Friday directed the State government to file objections in connection with the indiscriminate felling of trees in the City.

Hearing a suo motu petition, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice A S Bopanna directed the State to file objections within two weeks and has appointed Advocate Vaishali Hegde as amicus curie to assist the court.

Following media reports, Justice Kumar had on Saturday, November 6, 2010 written to the authorities about felling trees for road widening and had expressed concern over the disappearing greenery despite various regulations.

Justice Shylendra Kumar had suspected the existence of a tree mafia in operation, controlling the authorities to ensure chopping of trees to help industries dependent on supply of timber and wood products. In his letter, the judge had stated that the traffic congestion in the City is not due to the narrow roads, but due to lack of proper planning, particularly to regulate traffic.

Stating that the administrators have failed to protect trees which are over 100 years old, the Court has said the matter should be examined by the High Court as a PIL.

The petition says that BBMP has violated provisions under Forest Act 1927, Karnataka Forest Act 1963, Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act 1976, Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 and Environment (Protection) Act 1986.

Stating that there is no justification for the proposition that the felling will ease traffic flow, the Court has stated that the orders passed by Deputy Director, forest and tree officer, Commissioner of Police and Department of Town Planning are illegal and blatantly an arbitrary exercise of power.

The petition also stated that any order by tree officer to felling amounts to the violation of Article 14 and termed it as ultra vires (beyond their powers). The court has termed the notification issued by Department of Town planning to fell tree as prima facie illegal and has sought as an interim prayer to defer the felling until the court is satisfied to the legality of the ongoing road widening project.

It has also sought directions to constitute a Metropolitan Planning Committee and an order to replant trees in necessary proportions so as to maintain the standard as stipulated under Section 7 (c) of Karnataka Tree Preservation Act 1976. The petition has also sought to set up a tree court to assist tree officer to ensure proper decision on urban forestry.

Say No to Bangalore road widening Online Wednesday, August 11, 2010
http://www.commonfloor.com/stories/say-no-to-bangalore-road-widening-online-506
Say no to road widening Online! (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/no-to-road-widening-in-bangalore)

DNA: Bangalore - Bangalore road widening rage goes online - Aparajita Ray - Wednesday, August 11, 2010
http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_bangalore-road-widening-rage-goes-online_1421805-all

BBMP's road widening project will displace over 2 lakh people in the city - Staff Reporter - Monday, July 05, 2010
http://www.mybangalore.com/article/0710/bbmps-road-widening-project-will-displace-over-2-lakh-people-in-the-city-.html
Meanwhile an online petition has been launched to fight against the road widening project, where the citizens are demanding that all road widening activities be stopped. Also to appoint a quasi-judicial body to oversee all matters related to infrastructure development and to protect the interests of displaced tenants.

Please click here to sign the online petition -
Say no to road widening!

Links to other related comprehensive petitions by the same creator (Syed Tanveeruddin) on the unnecessary road widening / widenings and underpasses in Bangalore

01) http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save1223trees/ 

02) http://www.thepetitionsite.com/4/say-no-to-sankey-road-widening/ 

03) http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/sankey/ 

04) http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-suranjan-das-road-trees/

05) http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/suranjan/

06) http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/no-to-tagore-circle-underpass/ 

07) http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-pedestrian-infrastructure/ 

Condensed, unfeatured and text only versions of the above related petitions
01) Save 856 trees on Jayamahal Road in Bangalore http://www.petitiononline.com/856trees/ 

02) Say no to Tagore Circle underpass in Bangalore http://www.petitiononline.com/underpas/ 

Conclusion:
In the light of all the above-mentioned incontrovertible / undeniable captioned photos, facts and figures we appeal to everyone concerned to intervene at the earliest and to immediately Stop and re-evaluate illegal and irrational ongoing road-widening work in Bangalore http://www.petitiononline.com/dntwiden/ and tree fellings in the other cities too. We also appeal to the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India not to give permission for the felling of trees in Bangalore City for which the BBMP and the Karnataka State Government are desperately, eagerly and anxiously waiting for.
Karnataka High Court intervenes to check tree felling Deccan Herald Saturday, February 19, 2011
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/139070/hc-intervenes-check-tree-felling.html

This petition has been addressed to The Hon'ble Supreme Court (SC) of India, President, Prime Minister (PM), National Advisory Council (NAC), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC), Karnataka Governor / Guv, Karnataka Chief Minister (CM), Karnataka Chief Secretary (CS), Karnataka Forest Department (KFD),  Bruhat / Bruhath Bangalore / Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Union Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Karnataka Lokayukta, Agenda for Bangalore / Bengaluru Infrastructure Development (ABIDe) and Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) and Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA), Karnataka Urban Development Department (KUDD), Karnataka Transport Department (KTD), Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR), Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of Legislative Assembly / Council (MLAs / MLCs), Mayor & Corporators / Councillors.

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