Environment Support Group ®
S-3, Rajashree Apartments, 18/57, 1st Main Road, S. R. K. Gardens,
Jayanagar, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore 560041. INDIA
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The Chief Secretary,
Government of Karnataka
Vidhana Soudha
Bangalore 560001
16 Apr. 2004

Reg.: Illegal felling of trees on Cubbon Road, per the opinion expressed by His Excellency the Governor of Karnataka.

Dear Sir,

It has been reported in the media that the felling of “Ashoka” trees along the median stretch of Cubbon Road in Bangalore is pursuant to an observation made by His Excellency the Governor of Karnataka, that the trees could obstruct traffic flow and also be a security threat to dignitaries. As a result about 240 trees are presently being axed.

Action started on 9th April 2004, Good Friday, a general holiday, when over 40 trees were cut to the base, apparently by the Horticulture Department and the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike. Media reports and public protests seemed to have brought a halt to this, but only temporarily. Today the exercise continues, and this can potentially threaten the rest of the 240 trees on the median stretch. In addition, there are plans to cut trees along the pedestrian pathways too.

Clearly this is an act that is wholly illegal and against principles of urban forestry. These trees were planted with the intention of reflecting Bangalore’s heritage as a city of gardens and boulevards. For His Excellency’s concern to be responded to, an appropriate step would have been to adopt the proper procedure and only then take action towards trimming these trees, and that only if needed.

Instead, action taken has been to lop off the trees at their base. This is clearly not the right step and sends the worst signals to the citizenry. That this can happen in the immediate vicinity of the Raj Bhavan, the Vidhana Soudha, the High Court and along a prominent street where important government offices and media houses are located, is truly a most unfortunate situation. It implies that any body can cut any tree in any manner they wish, in utter disdain of laws or without following appropriate approaches to managing trees.

This letter therefore is to strongly urge you to intervene immediately to stop this illegal act. Such a move may still save the remaining trees left on this boulevard. Further action may be taken only on approval of the Forest Department and after a detailed site visit report is undertaken.

Thank you for your cooperation and support.

Yours sincerely,


Leo F. Saldanha                          Deepashree
Environment Support Group

Encl.: Copies of media reports dated 10 April 2004 (New Indian Express and Vijay Times) and 11 April 2004 (The Hindu)

Cc.:
1. His Excellency the Governor of Karnataka
2. Principal Secretary, Dept. of Ecology, Environment and Forests, Govt of Karnataka
3. Commissioner, Bangalore Mahanagara Palike
4. Director, Dept. of Horticulture, Govt of Karnataka
5. Deputy Conservator of Forests (Bangalore Urban), Karnataka Forest Department