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Easing congestion: Logs being transported from K.R. Road on Saturday.
Bangalore: K.R. Road will never be the same again for commuters.
Its old trees having fallen to the Metro Rail project and now bereft of the shady canopy it once provided, travelling through the road is a radically different experience.
The tree officer of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has granted permission for felling nearly 700 trees in the three Metro Rail corridors of which K.R. Road is a part.
Between Siddaiah Circle and Shivashankara Circle, 325 trees will go; between Yeshwanthpur and Swastik cinema, 192 trees face the axe, and from Magadi Road to Mysore Road, 179 trees will be cleared, according to BBMP officials.
However, this number is less than half the total tree-toll that the Metro project will take. According to Yeshwanth Chavan, Chief Public Relations Manager, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), more than 1,500 trees will have to be axed for the project.
According to Leo Saldanha of the Environment Support Group (ESG), tree felling is patently “illegal”. “The BMRCL has not taken permission of the empowered committee which was appointed by the High Court to look into the environmental sustainability of development projects,” he said.
The committee was formed in June after a public interest litigation filed by ESG and other groups.
However, Mr. Chavan maintained that “permission has been taken from the committee for all trees that have been felled.”
M.R Suresh, Tree Officer and Assistant Conservator of Forests, BBMP, said: “There is no choice but to fell the trees. The only other alternative would be to raze the buildings.”
He added that most of the trees on K.R. Road were fast-growing soft-wood trees which were only around 20 years old.
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