The District Forest
Karnataka Forest Dept.
10 July 2003
Reg.: Illegal felling of trees on 4th Main Road, Jayanagar, between 32nd and 36th cross
We wish to report to you a criminal act of felling full-grown and healthy Rain Trees on the 4th Main Road (popularly known as Nanda Talkies Road), between 32nd and 36th Crosses of Jayanagar, Bangalore South. This was based on the approval of the Joint Director (Development-2) of the Horticulture Department of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike. This approval was in turn based on an application made by one Mr. G. Bhaskar, in his letter dated 19 April 2003, a copy of which is enclosed. You may kindly note that the same letter carries notes of approval from the Joint Director. Photographic evidence will be supplied in the due course.
Around noon today, some labourers using saws had already lopped off big branches of three huge trees on the aforementioned road. The Jayanagar Traffic Police had blocked traffic to allow this activity, and thus were actively cooperating with this act of vandalism. No official order was available with anyone supervising the task, to legitimize this act of vandalism. Two members of the Art of Living Centre were present already and protesting this activity.
When challenged that this act was illegal, the police claimed they were not responsible. On deeper enquiry a copy of the enclosed letter/order was produced. It may be noted that a specific request was made by the said applicant to clear fell “Rain Tree No. 704”, along with dead wood from other trees. Clearly such a request should not have been entertained without due process, which involves comformance with all provisions of the Karnataka Forest Act and the Tree Preservation Act.
By noon, dead wood from two trees had already been lopped off, and most major branches of Tree No 704 felled. It is clear that all the branches from 704 were green branches, and in the first instance such a request to fell should not have had support of the BMP.
That the BMP has taken upon itself, the role of sanctioning tree felling in Bangalore is a most condemnable and illegal act. The above act must not be viewed lightly, or as only a single tree felled, but as part of a larger ongoing effort by BMP to vandalise Bangalore’s trees. Clearly if such blatant violation were tolerated on such a prominent street of a well-recognized neighbourhood as Jayanagar, then the fate of hundreds of tress along Bangalore’s streets may well be imagined.
Thereby, you are urged to immediately initiate criminal action against all officials who have endorsed the enclosed request of Mr. Bhaskar, and impound the material so felled in accordance with law.
Finally, we understand that the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka has taken a serious view against such green tree felling recently, and in light of this, action not taken could be termed as contempt of court.
Leo F. Saldanha; Subramanya Sastry; Deepashree; Mallesh K. R.; Bhargavi S. Rao
Environment Support Group, Bangalore
Registrar, High Court of Karnataka, Bangalore
• Joint Director(Development-2) of the Horticulture Department of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike