On May 9, as many as 25 trees were cut down at Green Glen Layout to increase the visibility for the advertisement on the hoarding, sparking massive outrage by citizens.

Hoarding for which 25 trees were culled in Bengaluru pulled down for the second time
news Civic Issues Sunday, July 08, 2018 - 19:34

Marking a victory for citizens and activists in Bengaluru, a hoarding was pulled down on Saturday after it was put up for the second time in two months.

On May 9, as many as 25 trees were cut down at Green Glen Layout between Iblur and Bellandur junctions to increase the visibility for the advertisement on the hoarding, sparking massive outrage by citizens.

Following campaigns and widespread media coverage, the hoarding was pulled down In a joint drive by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP)’s Forest Cell and residents living near the Outer Ring Road.

“This is a clear message. We are watching and we will not allow murder of our trees. The perpetrators will be brought to book,” said Sonali Singh, a resident activist.

The advertising company, Shobha, who according to BBMP records put up the hoarding, had initially denied any involvement in the cutting down of the trees. However, after pressure from residents, the owner of the building where the hoarding is situated admitted to chopping the trees.

A week after the trees were cut down, the Bellandur Police registered a FIR against the cutting of trees. After the FIR, the advertising company had given an assurance that no such thing will occur in the future.

The citizens in a mark of protest against the ruthless culling of these trees had gathered peacefully in big numbers including children on May 19 which was joined by tree lovers from across Bengaluru.

“Although the hoarding was put down, the very next week, they had put it  up again in blatant disregard to the BBMP’s action and it is a contempt of court,” Urban eco-conservationist Vijay Nishanth, popularly known as the Tree Doctor, told TNM.

As per Lokayukta order, BBMP is supposed to cancel the license of companies that put up hoardings that cause damage to any part of a tree.

Bengaluru, which was once known for neighbourhoods full of trees and main roads covered with canopies formed by over-reaching branches of trees, has seen multiple instances of tree culling by advertisers in recent times.

“This is the fourth case in a series, all linked to commercial interest to increase the visibility of hoardings, and cases are being heard by the Lokayukta,” Vijay said.

“What is especially tragic in this case is that residents of Iblur and Green Glen Layout have been proactively planting and nurturing trees with a conscious attempt to increase the tree cover, with regular plantation drives, but the overnight destruction of these trees including is distressing,” he added.

 

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