Bengaluru: Residents, shop owners and visitors are disappointed and angry as trees almost 50 years old have been cut down to make way for a steel flyover at Sivananda Circle.
BP Suresh, the owner of Sivananda General Stores, informed The Observer about the protests held by them since 2017 against the chopping of trees. “We couldn’t stop the BBMP. They did whatever they wanted to do. They didn’t listen to us.”
Last month, the BBMP allowed the cutting down of 22 trees and transplantation of another 12 trees at Sivananda Circle to facilitate the flyover. The task began on the midnight of February 11.
Kumaraswami N, a 40-year-old street vendor, has been selling books and magazines under a chopped tree on Kumarakrupa Road. Braving the sun and holding magazines, he informed The Observer: “This tree saw my jump from a bicycle to a scooter. Now I have to search a new place; the sun will be unbearable this summer.”
The 493-meter-long flyover will end just before the railway track underpass on Kumarakrupa Road. Residents of the area say the underpass needs to be expanded. “A flyover is unnecessary here,” said Taj AP, a shop owner, pointing at the narrow underpass.
A 50-year-old chopped tree fell outside the entrance of Hotel Rajkamal. Its branches were piled up on the opposite side of the road. Komala S, owner of the hotel, said: “I was very sad. These trees were plants when we purchased this plot in the 1970s.”
A tree was being transplanted when The Observer visited the area. Three men were digging around a tree. Babu A, who sold clothes under the tree for nine years, rued: “I will come under the sun after the transplantation.”
About the transplantation of trees, Suresh bemoaned: “We will not get back those age-old trees.”
Vijay Nishanth, known as a “tree doctor”, expressed grief at the goings-on, but said infrastructure is important for a city. That’s why “transplantation is an advantage; we can save some trees through this process”. If a proper methodology is followed, 50-60% of transplanted trees will again start giving oxygen.
The BBMP’s forest department is also laying stress on tree transplantation as a way to save some trees instead of chopping them down. Ranganatha Swami, Deputy Conservator of Forests, said that trees of Kumarakrupa Road are being transplanted to Rajarajeshwarinagar. “We have not decided yet where to plant new trees for those chopped off. We will think of it.”
The construction work has turned the nearly 100 feet wide road into a congested 40-feet road.