A citizen-led survey suggests that several Malleswaram residents are against the road-widening as it will result in loss of tree cover.

Road covered with trees on either side with traffic on the roadRepresentative Image/ Picxy/Munna
news Environment Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 13:37

Following the Karnataka government’s plan to expedite works to widen the Sankey Road along Bengaluru’s Sankey Tank, a section of residents in Malleswaram is opposing the move, to save several shade-providing trees and protect the water body. The road-widening project, proposed by Deputy Chief Minister Dr CN Ashwath Narayan a decade ago, has been opposed by activists and citizens for years. They say that axing trees to make space for the road will not help decongest the traffic-ridden area.

An ongoing citizen-led survey, conducted by Young Leaders for Active Citizenship (YLAC), has also suggested that many residents of the locality do not want the trees to be axed. Yogada Joshi, one of the surveyors under the Bengaluru Moving Campaign, said, “We went to parts of Malleswaram where there is a huge footfall which also includes Sankey Road. Many people said that they prefer walking in the locality due to the trees and shades. Further cutting the trees will also negatively affect many small-scale street-side vendors which are frequented by locals and passers-by alike.”

The Bengaluru Moving campaign is being conducted by Young Leaders for Active Citizenship (YLAC) and Sensing Local, a think tank, in association with the Directorate of Urban Land Transport. “Widening the road will not necessarily solve the problem; it will only encourage the use of private vehicles further, which will only compound the congestion problem,” Yogada added.



 Dr Meenakshi Bharath, a resident of Malleswaram who had spearheaded the protest against the widening of the same road a decade ago, is of a similar opinion as Yogada. She said that as many as 17 trees have been axed so far, and the current plan will require many more decades-old trees to be culled. She argued, “The solution to the traffic problem is not road-widening as the authorities and bureaucrats think it to be. We were protesting the widening project since then as we were informed that the embankment (bunds) of the tank will not withstand further construction. Nor do we want to lose this many trees.” According to her, the traffic problem can be solved by constructing a flyover at the Sankey Road-Bellary Road Junction, as traffic is often bottle-necked there.

In February 2020, the Deputy Chief Minister, who is also the local MLA, announced that the road-widening works could begin soon after a court stay on land acquisition had been lifted. He said that the project is necessary to solve Bengaluru’s growing traffic problem, and that people had been demanding the road for a long time. 

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