A Hyderabad group has offered to give a new lease of life to all trees that will end up being cut during the construction of the new Telangana Secretariat.

A tree being translocted by several men. They are trying to uproot the tree to then translocate it.By arrangement
news Environment Thursday, July 16, 2020 - 15:35

A Hyderabad-based environmental non-profit organization, Vata Foundation, has offered to translocate all the trees that will be felled to make way for the construction of the new Secretariat in Telangana. In a tweet to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and IT Minister KT Rama Rao, the organization offered to save them by translocating.

Activists and nature lovers are up in arms over the demotion of the Telangana Secretariat. A PIL that was filed in the High Court resulted in the demolition work being stayed. The demolition will pave way for a massive structure that will house the new seat of the administration.

The Secretariat is now home to age-old trees some of which were planted during the Nizam era.  Reportedly, there are around 500 trees in the Secretariat premises. Neem and peepal trees constitute a majority of the trees. There are also banyan, Subabul, bell jasmine and several other varieties.

Speaking to TNM, Uday Krishna the Founding Trustee of Vata Foundation said, “We have earlier worked with the government to save more than 1000 trees from various areas under the GHMC limits in Hyderabad. Most of them were trees affected by the Strategic Road Development Programme (SRDP). We translocated those trees to government schools, graveyards, campuses, independent farms etc. Once we get the required permissions, we ask nature lovers to adopt trees. They sponsor the cost of transporting and replanting the trees.”

Explaining the details of the process, Uday added, “The contracting department that is incharge of a project reaches out to GHMC about the number of trees to be felled for a development project. The GHMC reaches out to the Tree Protection Committee. The committee has officials from the forest department, GHMC, WWF and a few NGOs. They visit the site of the project and make a list of the trees that can be translocated and those that have to be cut. The government then translocates the trees identified as translocatable. We offer the government to let us translocate the trees that are on their list of trees that cannot be translocated. This helps them from being cut. Our foundation then takes up the translocation of these trees based on the clearances received.”

When asked for an estimate of the number of trees that can be rescued from the secretariat site, Uday explains, “There are varying figures about the number of trees that are there on the site. The number can be pegged between 150 to 500. Even if we estimate it to be 150 trees, it's a huge number. We are ready to work with the government to save these trees. They can be translocated elsewhere  or even to another spot on the same Secretariat premises.”

The foundation says that even earlier they have received responses from the government through social media posts offering to rescue trees. They are hoping that the  government would respond to their request and help save many trees and give them a new lease of life.