Save Lalitha Mahal Road trees from road widening

  • by: Syed Tanveeruddin
  • recipient: The Hon'ble Supreme Court, President, PM, NAC, Karnataka Lokayukta (state level anti-corrupt ombudsman), NHRC, KSHRC, Karnataka Guv, CM, Chief Secy (CS), KFD, MoUD, DULT, KUD, KTD, DPAR, Union & State Home Secys, MCC, MUDA, PWD, RTO, MPs, MLAs / MLCs.
Last Update: Monday, March 28, 2011 @ 09:05 hrs Indian Standard Time or IST
Are influential persons rooting for development of the stretch for their personal gains? Times of India, Friday, June 26, 2009
Tree row: Representative suit filed in city court Star of Mysore or SOM Thursday, June 25, 2009
 Preserving greenery: Environmentalists have been conducting campaigns to conserve tree-lined boulevards such as the above in Mysore. - The Hindu, Sun, Jun 21, 2009 Photo: M.A. Sriram
Preserving greenery: Environmentalists have been conducting campaigns to conserve tree-lined boulevards such as the above in Mysore. - The Hindu, Saturday, June 21, 2009 Photo: M.A. Sriram
Green cover: The Mysore City Corporation plans to fell 123(plus)68=191 trees to widen the Lalitha Mahal Road in Mysore. - The Hindu Monday, June 08, 2009 - Photo: M.A. Sriram
Green cover: The Mysore City Corporation plans to fell 143 66=209 trees to widen the Lalitha Mahal Road in Mysore. - The Hindu Monday, June 08, 2009 - Photo: M.A. Sriram

Trees to be axed on the Lalitha Mahal Road----->143
Trees to be axed near the RTO Circle ------------->066
Approximate total number of trees to be axed->209

A stretch of the Lalitha Mahal Road in Mysore. - The Hindu, Fri, June 05, 2009 Photo: M.A. Sriram
A stretch of the Lalitha Mahal Road in Mysore. - The Hindu, Friday, June 05, 2009 - Photo - M.A. Sriram
200 trees likely to face the axe in Mysore The Hindu, Sat, Jun 06, 2009
http://www.hindu.com/2009/06/06/stories/2009060653080300.htm

Are influential persons rooting for development of the stretch for their personal gains? Times of India, Friday, June 26, 2009
Ramadass, Shobha at loggerheads over axing of tree Times of India, Friday, June 26, 2009
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Mysore/Ramadass-Shobha-at-loggerheads-over-axing-of-tree/articleshow/4702410.cms 

CM's parliamentary secretary S A Ramadass has openly challenged the wisdom of district minister Shobha Karandlaje not to allow felling of  trees on Narasimharaja Boulevard.

While Ramadass is advocating felling of trees, Shobha has asserted that it will not be allowed.

During an interaction with stakeholders hosted by Mysore District Journalists Association, Ramadass stuck to his stand. When told that the minister is against felling of trees, Ramadass said: "There is no need to accord importance to contentions of those who lack ground reality. I have discussed the issue with the CM." Shobha approved the project which is taken up with funding from the CM's grant. But now she is retracting, he claimed.

The interaction, attended by ACP (traffic) Hanumanthappa, social activist M Lakshmana and retired chief engineer M Bapu Satyanarayan, hinted that the heat that has generated now will set a precedent for protecting greenery in the city.

Justifying his stand, Ramadass said trees are hindering development of the road. He also denied complaints that influential persons are rooting for development of the stretch for their personal gains. But he was sore that the forest department was adopting different yardsticks for development. It gave the permission to the KUWS&DB to axe trees to lay a water pipe without any public hearing. But in this case, it went in for the public opinion, he contended.

A social activist rooted for greenery and asked the officials to explore alternative ways. But the ACP said it is a prominent stretch used by VIPs and tourists and hence needs to be widened.

Tree row: Representative suit filed in city court Star of Mysore or SOM Thursday, June 25, 2009
http://mysore.12.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=117 
Three youth from the city have filed a representative suit in the Second Additional Munsiff Court here against felling of trees for widening the Lalitha Mahal Road.

Judge Radhakrishna allowed the petition yesterday.

The petitioners argued that accidents have been taking place on this road only because of traffic density. As such there is no meaning in the Government's argument that trees should be felled for widening the road without conducting scientific survey.

The environment around the nearby Zoo and Karanji Lake will be endangered if trees are felled
. It is wrong to fell trees at a time when the entire world is reeling under the effect of global warming, they explained. The Court, after hearing the argument, adjourned the hearing to Thursday.

B.O. Gangadhar of Ramakrishnanangar, M.S. Chaitra of J.P. Nagar and Srivatsa of Kuvempunagar are the petitioners who have made the Deputy Commissioner, Mysore City Corporation (MCC) Commissioner, Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) Commissioner, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation / Company (CESC) Engineer and Regional Transport Officer (RTO) as the respondents.

Advocates A.G. Thammaiah and A.M. Bhaskar appeared for the petitioners. One of the petitioners B.O. Gangadhar, who is working for an NGO involved in the field of education and environment, opined that the Union Government has granted Rs. 1,800 crore under the JNNURM only because Mysore is considered as a heritage city. As such, the Government should develop the city taking into account its heritage background and the Corporation has failed to realise this, he said.

Row over tree felling on Lalitha Mahal Road yet to be resolved The Hindu Thursday, June 25, 2009
http://www.hindu.com/2009/06/25/stories/2009062555290300.htm 
I have requested Yeddyurappa to set up an authority to look into it: KR Constituency MLA Ramdas

The controversy over a plan to fell 140 trees on Lalitha Mahal Road in Narasimharaja Boulevard here is yet to be resolved. Minister in-charge of Mysore district Shobha Karandlaje reportedly issued a statement recently that the Government had issued an order against tree felling on the road.

Chief Minister's Parliamentary Secretary and Krishnaraja MLA S.A. Ramdas, who recently convened a meeting of stakeholders to re-examine the Mysore City Corporation's plan to widen the road despite Tree Court's ruling against tree felling, on Wednesday, June 24, 2009 disclosed that he had requested Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to constitute a Tree Authority, comprising experts, to take a decision on the issue after examining the reports of various departments which were pressing for widening the road. "I am not against conserving trees. There is an opinion that the Tree Court decided against tree felling without looking into the facts that favoured road widening. I think the decision needs reconsideration," he said during an interaction with presspersons here organised by the Mysore District Journalists' Association (MDJA).

Retired Chief Engineer H.R. Bapu Satyanarayana and Assistant Commissioner of Police (traffic) Hanumanthappa participated in the programme.

Questioning the Tree Court's approval for felling trees in other parts of Mysore, Mr. Ramdas sought to know the reason for its opposition to the same on Lalitha Mahal Road which had high traffic density and would soon be part of a highway project.

He denied reports that the Government had issued an order against tree felling and clarified that the Minister had only stated to examine the stakeholders' observations before arriving at a decision. However, Mr. Ramdas agreed to examine the statistics provided by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) and the Traffic Police on traffic density and the number of accidents when presspersons contradicted the figures with those provided by environmentalists.

The one-km radius around the Mysore zoo was a restricted zone and if Lalitha Mahal Road was made four-lane, it would increase traffic in the area, causing disturbance to animals. Moreover, the bird habitat at the Karanji Lake and Butterfly Park may be disturbed owing to noise pollution following road widening.

If trees are felled, it will lead to soil erosion and the silt accumulates in the Karanji Lake, posing danger to its survival. Moreover, Lalitha Mahal Road is one of the two boulevards here which should be protected at any cost.

Lalitha Mahal Road's width complied with the standards of a four-lane road prescribed by the Indian Road Congress. If MCC is widening the road as per IRC standards, there is no need to widen it since it has four-lane road width. The accidents occurred not because of narrow roads, but reckless driving and lack of footpath. Where should pedestrians walk if footpath is acquired for road? It is time we save the greenery of Mysore, a city different from the rest. Alternatives can be found instead of felling the trees.

Forest Department facing pressure to withdraw decision against tree-felling The Hindu, Sunday June 21, 2009
http://www.hindu.com/2009/06/21/stories/2009062151050300.htm
Preserving greenery: Environmentalists have been conducting campaigns to conserve tree-lined boulevards such as the above in Mysore. - The Hindu, Sun, Jun 21, 2009 Photo: M.A. Sriram
Preserving greenery: Environmentalists have been conducting campaigns to conserve tree-lined boulevards such as the above in Mysore. - The Hindu, Saturday, June 21, 2009 Photo: M.A. Sriram

Department had rejected MCC's plan to axe trees on heritage stretch
The issue concerns felling 140 trees on Lalitha Mahal Road
Environmentalists to intensify stir against the tree-felling move

Fresh efforts are being made to "alter" the Forest Department's decision against felling of around 140 trees on Lalitha Mahal Road in Narasimharaja Boulevard here. Despite a firm 'no' by the Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) to the Mysore City Corporation's plea for cutting trees on the heritage road for its widening, it appears that "pressure" is mounting on the department to reconsider its decision. At a public hearing on Monday, June 8, 2009 the department had asked the MCC to find ways to divert traffic and conserve trees.

Environmentalists had strongly opposed the felling of trees. In the end, the department rejected the MCC's plan, owing to activists' protests.

Chief Minister's Parliamentary Secretary S.A. Ramdas, who heard out the MCC and other stakeholders on the controversial issue recently, has reportedly given his "consent" to approach the department with a request for reconsidering its earlier decision.

At a meeting here, the stakeholders - the MCC and Transport and Tourism departments - apprised the MLA of the necessity for cutting trees to make way for a four-lane road. They had said that only those trees that were old and on the verge of falling would be felled, sparing the young, strong trees. A proposal was also mooted for planting a sapling for each tree that would be felled.

Meanwhile, environmentalists and the organisations campaigning against tree-felling have resolved to intensify their fight against the renewed efforts to axe trees.

'Spare heritage'
"Now that all the obstacles on completing the Outer Ring Road have been removed, and with MUDA allocating funds for its completion, officials should complete it. Let us leave Lalitha Mahal Road as it is with no felling of trees to maintain the old-world charm and preserve the city's priceless heritage boulevards," said Bhamy V. Shenoy, convener, Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP).

Dr. Shenoy said it was unfortunate that there was an unnecessary controversy over tree-felling to widen Lalitha Mahal Road between ATI and Arch Gate. Sustainable development is impossible without taking care of the environment, he said.

Accident rate
Traffic accident research has also shown that widening the road does not lead to lower accident rate. The main reasons given by the police for traffic accidents are over-speeding and reckless driving, he said in a press release, and added that four or six-lane roads do not attract tourists, but heritage boulevards do.

Minister in-charge of Mysore district Shobha Karandlaje and Mysore MP A.H. Vishwanath had already expressed their opposition to the tree-felling plan. The Minister had also reiterated her stand while interacting with the press in Bangalore on Friday, June 21, 2009.

MCC for upgrading stretch despite oppositionSlug: Lalitha Mahal Road The Times of India, Thursday, June 18, 2009
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Mysore/MCC-for-upgrading-stretch-despite-oppositionSlug-Lalitha-Mahal-Road/articleshow/4672972.cms 
The greenery at vintage Narasinmharaja Boulevard (Lalitha Mahal Road) has come under threat again notwithstanding opposition from environmentalists and a firm no from the forest department to axe trees.

Mysore City Corporation, which is proposing to develop the road to four-lane, has not dropped the idea of upgrading the stretch despite the forest department's denial to cut 123 trees lining it up. On Thursday, June 18, 2009 the CM's parliamentary secretary S A Ramadass, the Krishnaraja MLA where the site is located, discussed with various stakeholders on the project and decided to file an appeal before the forest department to allow axing of trees.

This comes despite the district in-charge minister Shobha Karandlaje's directive that the greenery along the stretch next to Chamundi Hills should be saved. Even MP Adagur H Vishwanath has opposed the axing of trees.

During the meeting, Mysore division DCF Shashwathi Mishra was cornered as to why she denied the permission. She pointed at the opinion of the public at the hearing on June 8, 2009 and said the majority wanted the greenery to be preserved.

MCC denied permission to cut trees for widening road The Hindu Jun 09
Mysore: Tree Court rules against felling for road widening DH, Jun 09
MCC denied permission to fell trees Times of India, Jun 08, 2009

http://bangalore.praja.in/discuss/forums/2009/06/mcc-plans-axe-200-trees-lalitha-mahal-road

Opposition to corporation's plan to fell trees gaining momentum The Hindu, Monday, June 08, 2009
http://www.hindu.com/2009/06/08/stories/2009060857510300.htm

MCC's application to be heard today; Forest Department to hear public opinion


Forest Department urged not to grant permission to MCC
MCC plans to fell 68 trees near RTO Circle

Opposition to the Mysore City Corporation's plan to fell 123 trees on Lalitha Mahal Road and 68 trees near the RTO Circle for road-widening work is gaining momentum.

Environmentalists are building pressure on authorities of the Department of Forests not to grant permission to the corporation to cut down full-grown trees at both the place(s).

The Tree Court will be hearing the corporation's application for felling trees on Monday, June 08, 2009 at 11:00 AM near the Arch Gate on the Lalitha Mahal Road. The department will also hear public opinion on the issue on Monday.

Meanwhile, in a letter to the Deputy Conservator of Forests, the Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) has urged the department not to permit felling of trees on the Lalitha Mahal Road and near the RTO Circle.

"Many of us in the MGP, who are engineers and experts belonging to different professions, are not averse to modernisation or development. In fact, we all are in favour of sustainable development. But what the corporation is suggesting is not along these lines," according to Major General S.G. Vombatkere (Retd.), president of the MGP.

The corporation has sought permission to fell 123 trees between the Administrative Training Institute (ATI) and the Arch Gate to widen the Lalitha Mahal Road. It has also sought permission to fell 68 trees near the RTO Circle to widen a stretch of the Mahatma Gandhi Road.

However, trees to be felled near the RTO Circle are yet to be identified.

Maj. Gen. Vombatkere said that traffic had increased on the Lalitha Mahal Road over that last several months. Most of the vehicles plying on the road, including buses and trucks, would have plied on the Outer Ring Road (ORR) if work on the road had been completed. "We demand that work on the ORR be completed at a fast pace, and this will obviate the need to widen the Lalitha Mahal Road," he said in the letter.

According to Maj. Gen. Vombatkere, tree-lined avenues are also a part of the city's heritage apart from stately buildings, lakes and parks. If the 123 trees are felled, a part of the city's heritage would be lost for ever, he said. The Lalitha Mahal Road falls within the heritage zone and hence the 123 trees lining the road must not be felled in the interest of preserving Mysore's heritage, he said.

"Do we know what will happen to the traffic density on the Lalitha Mahal Road when the Outer Ring Road is completed? It is more than likely to be reduced considerably. Thus, whatever the value estimated to be gained by widening the road will be even less," he argued.

"Have the corporation authorities provided the Department of Forests information on any alternative that they have considered before arriving at this road-widening project that needs 123 trees to be felled? It appears to us that the MCC authorities have not applied their mind adequately before placing this request before the forest department," he said.

Regarding the plan to fell 68 trees near the RTO Circle, he said this matter should not be a subject of Monday's public hearing. A separate public hearing should be held at the site where trees were proposed to be felled, he demanded.

Do not do away with pavements say activists

Corporation's proposal to be studied to ascertain if road-widening work needs to be taken up
Tree Court to take up both applications filed by corporation and public opinion sought on them

Unperturbed by the growing opposition to the proposed felling of 123 trees on Lalitha Mahal Road, the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) has sought permission to fell an additional 68 trees on the stretch from the city court complex to Somasundar Circle.

With this, over 200 trees will face the axe for road-widening work as there are a few more trees that will be axed on the double road leading from RTO to the Vani Vilas Double Road connecting the Race Course.

The road from city court complex leading to RTO and Somasundar Circle is a well-laid double road with four lanes - two on each side - and tree felling does not lead to any significant gain in space. Similarly, the Vani Vilas Double Road leading to Somasundar Circle is again a double road and activists have pointed out that roads cannot be widened at the expense of pavements.

Deputy Conservator of Forests Shashwathi Mishra said the issue would be examined and the project would be scrutinised. Ms. Mishra said the Tree Court hearing on June 8 near the arch gate would take up both the applications filed by the corporation and public opinion sought on them.

Ms. Mishra said the Forest Department would study the proposal and ascertain if the project was needed. If it was established that it was required then ways would be found to go ahead with the project without felling trees.

MCC told to reconsider move to fell trees The Hindu, Fri, June 05, 2009

http://www.hindu.com/2009/06/05/stories/2009060555000300.htm
A stretch of the Lalitha Mahal Road in Mysore. - The Hindu, Fri, June 05, 2009 Photo: M.A. Sriram
A stretch of the Lalitha Mahal Road in Mysore. - The Hindu, Fri, June 05, 2009 - Photo - M.A. Sriram

Mr. Manivannan tells corporation Commissioner that Narasimharaja Boulevard should not be disturbed

Mysore: The growing controversy surrounding the proposed move to axe 123 trees on the Lalitha Mahal Road has taken an interesting turn with Deputy Commissioner P. Manivannan asking the Mysore City Corporation to reconsider its decision on the issue.

In a letter addressed to corporation Commissioner K.S. Raikar, the Deputy Commissioner has suggested that the Narasimharaja Boulevard should not be disturbed.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Manivannan said perhaps the corporation should concentrate on completing the ring road and ensure the diversion of traffic from the T. Narsipura Road which enters the Lalitha Mahal Road to reduce the congestion, especially the heavy trucks from the T. Narsipura Road that enter the city from the Lalitha Mahal Road.

He said the existing traffic does not warrant the laying of a double road and this may also call for a traffic survey to ascertain if road widening was unavoidable. "These are such old trees and such beautiful avenues and boulevards are disappearing and one must do as much as possible to protect them," Mr. Manivannan said.

In case a double road was necessary then the trees should be left intact and a carriageway laid besides it, he suggested.

The controversy stemmed from the original move of the Forest Department to convene a meeting of the Tree Court and elicit public opinion on June 8 to discuss a proposal of the corporation to fell 123 trees that dot the Lalitha Mahal Road.

The corporation had filed an application seeking permission from the Forest Department to "remove" the trees to facilitate road widening. This resulted in a hue and cry as the Lalitha Mahal Road falls within the heritage zone and calls for special conservation measures. The corporation's Building Bylaw table 15 also recognises the importance of the Lalitha Mahal Road and has made it mandatory that the new buildings conform to the aesthetics of the road dotted with colonial era structures.

Dr. Bhamy V. Shenoy of the parishat said: "Let us assume that the earlier number of vehicles went up from 50 per hour to 200 on this road. The percentage increase looks large, but is still manageable. Even if for two km vehicles have to move at a lower speed to save trees, it is worth paying the price. It is our responsibility to convince the authorities of this fact".

"Widening roads to admit more cars will mean more pollution. Rather than more cars, more buses will transport more people in the same road space. This is the value judgment we as a society need to make to face the energy crisis," he said.

Tree Court meet on June 8 The Hindu, Fri, June 05, 2009

http://www.hindu.com/2009/06/05/stories/2009060555020300.htm

The Tree Court meeting to elicit opinion on proposed move to fell 123 trees on the Lalitha Mahal Road was scheduled to be held on June 5.

But now it will be held on June 8 at the arch gate on the Lalitha Mahal Road at 11 a.m. The decision to postpone the meeting was taken in view of the irony of discussing tree-felling on World Environment Day when the authorities should instead be implementing conservation measures.

Wadiyar remembered - Mysore - Cities - The Times of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mysore/Wadiyar-remembered/articleshow/4618135.cms

The MCC, which is proposing to develop Narasimharaja Boulevard (Lalitha Mahal road), is asked to look for alternatives to axing the trees lining up the stretch. District minister Shobha Karandlaje has stepped in to save the row of 123 trees. This comes a day ahead of the public hearing by the forest department to get feedback from the public on axing of the trees.

Following the intervention of the minister, deputy commissioner P Manivannan has written a letter to corporation commissioner K S Raykar specifying the importance of green cover in the area and pointed out that the area is reminiscent of the Maharaja's era. "Avoid cutting these trees as there is opposition to it. Examine the base to avoid cutting of trees," he has told the MCC in the letter. This follows a directive from the minister, sources stated.

Mr. Manivannan was also approached by the NGOs and the public against the tree felling. The idea is to look for other alternatives to take the traffic load on the stretch so that the greenery is preserved. Mr. Manivannan has pointed out that maintaining urban forestry is one of the functions of the urban local body, an indication that the green cover should not be invaded unnecessarily.

Mysore musings
Mysore City Corporation (MCC) has a penchant for breaking its own resolutions and laws The Hindu, Tue, June 02, 2009

http://www.hindu.com/2009/06/02/stories/2009060255790300.htm

Breaking the rules

The Mysore City Corporation (MCC) has a penchant for breaking its own resolutions and laws.

A case in point is the public meeting called on June 8 to seek public opinion on whether to axe more than 120 trees on either side of Lalitha Mahal Road adjoining the Karanji lake. The rationale for tree felling is of course road-widening to reduce traffic congestion. But the question asked by citizens is can't the authorities divert traffic to reduce the congestion, which is a viable long-term and permanent solution?

It was only recently that the MCC passed a resolution declaring the area in a radius of 1 km around the Lalitha Mahal Palace as a restricted zone in a bid to conserve its beauty. But now another wing of the MCC is out to violate what the council adopted.

But this is not the first time that the MCC has acted in such a manner. The corporation, in the past, has adopted a series of resolutions on building bylaw and restrictions on commercial hoardings in view of the city's heritage character. And on each occasion they have been flouted.

Rumours have it that there is another resolution in the offing to conserve heritage buildings. Heritage lovers are now perturbed as given the MCC's track record these structures may be doomed.

Unique Way to Celebrate Environment Day Thursday, June 4, 2009
http://mygrapa.blogspot.com/2009/05/unique-way-to-celebrate-environment-day.html

Bhamy V Shenoy, Convener, Mysore Grahakara Parishat writes

This year, the best way to celebrate World Environmental Day, on June 5th would be for all concerned Mysoreans to assemble near Arch Gate on Lalitha Mahal Road at 11:00 AM on June 8th to protest peacefully against the felling of 200 majestic and beautiful, carbondioxide-consuming, oxygen-giving trees for road-widening. Some of these trees are over 100 years old.

The justification for road-widening given by the authorities is the increasing traffic. By any stretch of imagination, traffic on the roads surrounding this area from racecourse to the Arch gate leading to T Narasipur Road is not heavy enough to widen the roads. It is true that if earlier the number of vehicles were say 50 per hour and it has gone up to 200 on this road, the percentage increase is large. But it does not justify widening the road and in any case cannot justify felling of the trees. It is not that part of the city with high density of traffic moving at high speed like an expressway. Even if for two or three kilometers, vehicles have to move at lower speed to save trees, it is worth paying the price. It is our responsibility to convince the authorities of this fact.

Widening roads to admit more fast-moving cars will mean more exhaust pollution, and cutting trees will remove the capacity to compensate for the increased pollution. Rather than more cars, more buses will transport more people in the same road space, without need to widen the road.
Instead of using JNNURM funds for widening the roads, it could be used for improving the slums of Mysore. This is one example of lop-sided planning when the public is not consulted on the priority of projects.

Environmentalists and those concerned with the livability and beauty of Mysore City need to assemble in huge numbers at Arch Gate on Lalitha Mahal Road on June 8th at 11.00 AM to register their opposition to tree-felling, if the trees and Mysore's ambiance are to be saved. Let us get inspiration from Chipko movement of Sunderlal Bahuguna and rise to the occasion to stop the felling of these trees. Let us also recall a similar movement MGP launched in 90s with the help of students from Sharada Vilas and Maharani college to save the felling of tress around the Race Course.

'Keep greenery, find alternatives for development' Times of India, Mon, Jun 08, 2009
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Mysore/Keep-greenery-find-alternatives-for-development/articleshow/4632805.cms

The greenery in Mysore is under attack. The city is slowly losing its green sheen, as fully grown trees are being axed continually in the name of development. Of late, the Mysore City Corporation has sought permission from the forest department to fell over 123 trees on Narasimharaja Boulevard to widen the road to facilitate vehicular movements. Also, an application to cut scores of trees on Vani Vilas Road for road-widening works is pending. The TOI @ Campus interacted with a section of students attached to the Maharani's Science College for Women, to take their reaction on the issue. Here is what they said:

The city is slowly losing its green sheen. Sometime back we, the college students, protested against the felling of several trees inside the campus. Sadly, it did not yield any results. It is appalling that the civic body has moved an application seeking permission to fell scores of trees. Definitely, this will increase the levels of carbon dioxide in city and invite health hazards. Instead, the authorities must complete Outer Ring Road works to ease the traffic. - Chintana J

Development should not be at the cost of nature. Felling nearly 123 trees just to widen a road to facilitate vehicle movements on a city road is no joke. At any cost, tress must be protected by finding other alternatives like deploying traffic police personnel, diverting traffic and prohibiting heavy vehicles on the road to make it safer. - Shewtha K L

Axing trees is nothing but decreasing the oxygen level and increasing the noise pollution in the city. This will certainly make lives of city residents miserable, especially by causing health problems. At all costs, the green cover must be protected for welfare of Mysoreans. The idea of chopping over 100 trees on Narasimharaja Boulevard must be dropped and authorities concerned must search for other options to end traffic woes. - Shruthi M L

It requires years together for a tree to grow big, but needs only few minutes to fell the fully grown tree. Authorities must consider the repercussions of tree felling before making any decision in this regard. They can convert the road into one-way or find other alternatives. If at all they want to continue with the project, let them ensure that they bring up more number of trees in the city. - Navya S

Traffic problems will not end just by widening the road after felling fully grown trees. They should look for other choices. Trees in city are under attack in the name of development and authorities concerned are mum on the grave issue. It shows how our officials are putting forth a lackadaisical attitude towards protecting the greenery of the city. People of Mysore must not allow the authorities to chop the trees. - Bhavya M L

MCC denied permission to fell trees Times of India, Mon, Jun 08, 2009
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Mysore/MCC-denied-permission-to-fell-trees/articleshow/4632809.cms

The green carpet at Narasimharaja Boulevard leading up to Lalitha Mahal Palace will be saved.

The forest department on Monday, told the Mysore City Corporation to look at other options to save the heritage lane its greenery, and conveyed that it will not permit axing of trees in some of the other arterial roads marked for widening.

Now, the ball is back in the court of the MCC, as it has to fast track development of a stretch in Nazarbad to take the load and also to complete the pending Outer Ring Road (ORR) under the JNNURM. With DC P Manivannan back as the JNNURM special officer and district minister Shobha Karandlaje's move to resolve the long-pending ORR completed out of the court, an alignment of the ORR connecting Nazarbad to Mysore-Ooty Road could get going.

After a heated exchange of words during a public hearing on the MCC's petition at the Mysore division, DCF Sashwath Mishra told the meeting that permission to fell the 123 trees was turned down. The meeting witnessed some tense moments as some argued to develop the road to avoid traffic snarls and to make the stretch safer. The DCF made it clear that she will not buckle under any pressure and will not accord the permission. The same applies to another petition by the MCC seeking the forest department to axe some trees on Vani Vilas Road (MG Road) for the widening.

The two groups with divergent views nearly came to blows at one point, but police intervened to diffuse the situation.

The MCC's move came under severe criticism, as some, including the Mysore Grahakara Parishat leader Bhamy V Shenoy and Janaagruti leader Arun Kumar, asked the civic body of traffic survey, which they failed to produce. Those who wanted to protect the environment argued that the ecological and financial implications weigh against the axing of the trees. The forest department also drew flak, with some seeking accounts of the number of saplings planted by it under urban forestry scheme and the permission granted for axing of trees in recent times.

Arun Kumar, an advocate, argued that it is the city police and MUDA that should approach the forest department and not the MCC. Social activist Ramalingam, a botany professor, pointed out that many of the trees marked for axing are neem trees, a medicinal plant.

While many agreed that the stretch was getting crowded, they asked for the completion of the ORR and widening of the road from Teresian College to Gopal Gowda Nursing home junction in Nazarbad to take the load.

Some said the road needs to be widened since it is leading to traffic congestion and sought to compensate the loss by planting saplings in other parts of the city. But it was pointed out that the forest department's track record on enhancing and compensating greenery is poor.

Former MLA M K Somashekar, Kannada Rakshana Vedike leader Mohankumar Gowda and social activist Pa Mallesh were some of the leaders who presented the case for environment.

MCC denied permission to cut trees for widening road The Hindu Tue, June 09, 2009
http://www.hindu.com/2009/06/09/stories/2009060953340300.htm

A large number of people attend Tree Court on Mon, Jun 08, 2009

Voicing Concern: Major General (retd) Sudhir Vombatkere speaking at the Tree Court meeting in Mysore on Monday. - The Hindu, Tue, Jun 09, 2009 - Photo M.A. Sriram
Voicing Concern: Major General (retd) Sudhir Vombatkere speaking at the Tree Court meeting in Mysore on Monday, June 08. Photo: M.A. Sriram - The Hindu, Tue, June 09, 2009

The Forest Department refused permission to the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) to axe over 200 trees for road-widening in Mysore.

After an elaborate Tree Court meeting, a public hearing, punctuated by acrimonious debate and heated arguments, Ms. Shashwathi Mishra, Deputy Conservator of Forests, rejected the two applications filed by the corporation seeking permission to fell 140 trees from Ranapratap Singh Circle to arch gate and an additional 68 trees between Court complex circle to Somasundar Circle.

Ms. Mishra said after the Tree Court meeting that the corporation would be denied permission to fell trees and would be asked to find ways to divert traffic and conserve trees.

A large number of representatives from non-governmental organisations, environmentalists, naturalists, students and local residents attended the Tree Court hearing that was held near the Arch Gate adjoining the Lalitha Mahal Palace on Monday. Every speaker denounced the authorities for taking the easy option of felling trees while discounting the possibility of reducing traffic congestion by completing the ring road or diverting traffic.

Mr. Chetan of the NSUI accused the authorities of being hand in glove with contractors.

Dr. Bhamy V. Shenoy of the Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) said the traffic density on the Lalitha Mahal Road could be reduced by diverting the heavy vehicles from T. Narsipur to the ring road and urged the authorities to complete the project. The former MLA, M.K. Somashekar, adopted a similar view.

Arun Kumar, convenor of Jagruthi urged the Forest Department to summarily dismiss the application of the corporation.

However, the former councillor Prakash Raj Urs, Dhananjay and a few others argued in favour of felling trees. Environmentalists pointed out that they would feel safe if the trees were saved and footpaths for pedestrians were laid.

Mysore: Tree Court rules against felling for road widening Deccan Herald or DH, Tue, June 09, 2009

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/7099/mysore-tree-court-rules-against.html

The Tree Court of Mysore on Monday put brakes to the proposed road widening work by Mysore City Corporation which involved cutting of a total of 209 trees at two places in the City, by rejecting the proposals submitted in this regard.

Deputy Conservator of Forests of Mysore Division Shaswathi Mishra announced that two proposals submitted by the MCC seeking permission to axe 143 trees from Race Course Circle up to Lalitha Mahal Arch Gate and 66 trees from the Court Circle up to Somasundaram Circle were rejected, following strong opposition from the general public and members of various environmental groups.

This decision came as a victory for the greens, who had been opposing the MCC's decision to cut the trees under the garb of developmental works.

The DCF asked the corporation authorities to find out the alternatives in the wake of rejection of the proposals.

The tree court proceedings went on for three hours near the arch gate of Lalitha Mahal Palace Road.

Tension at Tree Court meeting The Hindu Tuesday, Jun 09, 2009

http://www.hindu.com/2009/06/09/stories/2009060953370300.htm

A group argued for felling of trees to widen roads

There were tense moments during the Tree Court meeting held here on Monday to elicit public opinion on an application filed by the Mysore City Corporation to axe over 200 trees for road-widening.

A few persons, claiming to be local residents, barged into the venue and intimidated the environmentalists and private citizens who had assembled to air their views on the issue. The group, led by the former councillor Prakah Raj Urs questioned the rationale of the people who had assembled at the venue and raised slogans against environmentalists.

Mr. Prakash Raj Urs and his supporters screamed at the gathering and said only local residents, who they claimed were supportive of the project, should be considered and the rest did not have any locus standi on the issue. An argument ensued and the situation threatened to snowball into a major confrontation but the group in favour of tree felling was soon overwhelmed by the sheer number of activists opposing tree felling.

In the melee, activists of the National Students Union of India (NSUI), members of the Mysore Amateur Naturalists (MAN) and others staged a dharna to "Save Mysore" and staged an impromptu 'rasta roko'. The activists shouted slogans against the corporation and the State Government and called for conservation of the heritage of Mysore.

Some activists planted a sapling alongside the trees that were proposed to be axed. The sapling was watered and activists promised to protect the green cover of Mysore.

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Conclusion:

Although the 200 plus trees between the city court complex and T. Narsipura Road have been saved through God's grace the roadside trees between the Hardinge Circle to Bannimantap (Mysore Dasara procession route) are likely to be axed for the proposed widening and four laning of the road
.

Curzon Park will be encroached upon. No space will be left for footpaths / pavements. A part of the Rs.100 crore released by the state government is to be utilised for this four laning.

Roadside trees on the road between the Karanji Kere / Lake and Mysore Zoo are likely to be axed for road widening.

Therefore, although the initial battle's been won. There's still a long way to go.
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This petition's been addressed to:
This petition has been addressed to The Hon'ble Supreme Court (SC) of India, President, Prime Minister (PM), National Advisory Council (NAC), Karnataka Lokayukta (state level anti-corrupt ombudsman), 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), Union Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), Karnataka Urban Development Department (KUDD), Karnataka Transport Department (KTD), Department of Personnel and

Administrative Reforms (DPAR), Union and State Home Secretaries, Mysore City Corporation (MCC), Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA), Public Works Department (PWD), Regional Transport Office (RTO), Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assembly / Council (MLAs / MLCs).

Last Update: Monday, March 28, 2011 @ 09:05 hrs Indian Standard Time or IST

To The Hon'ble Supreme Court, President, PM, NAC, Karnataka Lokayukta (state level anti-corrupt ombudsman), NHRC, KSHRC, Karnataka Guv, CM, Chief Secy (CS), KFD, MoUD, DULT, KUD, KTD, DPAR, Union & State Home Secys, MCC, MUDA, PWD, RTO, MPs, MLAs / MLCs.

Unperturbed by the growing opposition to the proposed felling of 123 trees on Lalitha Mahal Road, the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) has sought permission to fell an additional 68 trees on the stretch from the city court complex to Somasundar Circle.

With this, over 200 trees will face the axe for road-widening work as there are a few more trees that will be axed on the double road leading from RTO to the Vani Vilas Double Road connecting the Race Course.

The road from city court complex leading to RTO and Somasundar Circle is a well-laid double road with four lanes - two on each side - and tree felling does not lead to any significant gain in space. Similarly, the Vani Vilas Double Road leading to Somasundar Circle is again a double road and activists have pointed out that roads cannot be widened at the expense of pavements.

Deputy Conservator of Forests Shashwathi Mishra said the issue would be examined and the project would be scrutinised. Ms. Mishra said the Tree Court hearing on June 8 near the arch gate would take up both the applications filed by the corporation and public opinion sought on them.

Ms. Mishra said the Forest Department would study the proposal and ascertain if the project was needed. If it was established that it was required then ways would be found to go ahead with the project without felling trees.

Mr. Manivannan has told corporation Commissioner that Narasimharaja Boulevard should not be disturbed. The growing controversy surrounding the proposed move to axe 123 trees on the Lalitha Mahal Road has taken an interesting turn with Deputy Commissioner P. Manivannan asking the Mysore City Corporation to reconsider its decision on the issue.

In a letter addressed to corporation Commissioner K.S. Raikar, the Deputy Commissioner has suggested that the Narasimharaja Boulevard should not be disturbed.

Mr. Manivannan said perhaps the corporation should concentrate on completing the ring road and ensure the diversion of traffic from the T. Narsipura Road which enters the Lalitha Mahal Road to reduce the congestion, especially the heavy trucks from the T. Narsipura Road that enter the city from the Lalitha Mahal Road.

He said the existing traffic does not warrant the laying of a double road and this may also call for a traffic survey to ascertain if road widening was unavoidable. "These are such old trees and such beautiful avenues and boulevards are disappearing and one must do as much as possible to protect them," Mr. Manivannan said.

In case a double road was necessary then the trees should be left intact and a carriageway laid besides it, he suggested.

The controversy stemmed from the original move of the Forest Department to convene a meeting of the Tree Court and elicit public opinion on June 8 to discuss a proposal of the corporation to fell 123 trees that dot the Lalitha Mahal Road.

The corporation had filed an application seeking permission from the Forest Department to "remove" the trees to facilitate road widening. This resulted in a hue and cry as the Lalitha Mahal Road falls within the heritage zone and calls for special conservation measures. The corporation's Building Bylaw table 15 also recognises the importance of the Lalitha Mahal Road and has made it mandatory that the new buildings conform to the aesthetics of the road dotted with colonial era structures.

Widening roads to admit more cars will mean more pollution. Rather than more cars, more buses will transport more people in the same road space. This is the value judgment we as a society need to make to face the energy crisis.

The MCC, which is proposing to develop Narasimharaja Boulevard (Lalitha Mahal road), is asked to look for alternatives to axing the trees lining up the stretch. District minister Shobha Karandlaje has stepped in to save the row of 123 trees. This comes a day ahead of the public hearing by the forest department to get feedback from the public on axing of the trees.

Following the intervention of the minister, deputy commissioner P Manivannan has written a letter to corporation commissioner K S Raykar specifying the importance of green cover in the area and pointed out that the area is reminiscent of the Maharaja's era. "Avoid cutting these trees as there is opposition to it. Examine the base to avoid cutting of trees," he has told the MCC in the letter. This follows a directive from the minister, sources stated.

Manivannan was also approached by the NGOs and the public against the tree felling. The idea is to look for other alternatives to take the traffic load on the stretch so that the greenery is preserved.

Manivannan has pointed out that maintaining urban forestry is one of the functions of the urban local body, an indication that the green cover should not be invaded unnecessarily.

The Mysore City Corporation (MCC) has a penchant for breaking its own resolutions and laws.

A case in point is the public meeting called on June 8 to seek public opinion on whether to axe more than 120 trees on either side of Lalitha Mahal Road adjoining the Karanji lake. The rationale for tree felling is of course road-widening to reduce traffic congestion. But the question asked by citizens is can't the authorities divert traffic to reduce the congestion, which is a viable long-term and permanent solution?

It was only recently that the MCC passed a resolution declaring the area in a radius of 1 km around the Lalitha Mahal Palace as a restricted zone in a bid to conserve its beauty. But now another wing of the MCC is out to violate what the council adopted.

But this is not the first time that the MCC has acted in such a manner. The corporation, in the past, has adopted a series of resolutions on building bylaw and restrictions on commercial hoardings in view of the city's heritage character. And on each occasion they have been flouted.

Rumours have it that there is another resolution in the offing to conserve heritage buildings. Heritage lovers are now perturbed as given the MCC's track record these structures may be doomed.

Conclusion:

Although the 200 plus trees between the city court complex and T. Narsipura Road have been saved through God's grace the roadside trees between the Hardinge Circle to Bannimantap (Mysore Dasara procession route) are likely to be axed for the proposed widening and four laning of the road
.

Curzon Park will be encroached upon. No space will be left for footpaths / pavements. A part of the Rs.100 crore released by the state government is to be utilised for this four laning.

Roadside trees on the road between the Karanji Kere / Lake and Mysore Zoo are likely to be axed for road widening.

Therefore, although the initial battle's been won. There's still a long way to go.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This petition's been addressed to:
This petition has been addressed to The Hon'ble Supreme Court (SC) of India, President, Prime Minister (PM), National Advisory Council (NAC), Karnataka Lokayukta (state level anti-corrupt ombudsman), 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), Union Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), Karnataka Urban Development Department (KUDD), Karnataka Transport Department (KTD), Department of Personnel and


Administrative Reforms (DPAR), Union and State Home Secretaries, Mysore City Corporation (MCC), Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA), Public Works Department (PWD), Regional Transport Office (RTO), Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assembly / Council (MLAs / MLCs).

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