In March, Bengaluru succeeded in ensuring that two illegal hoardings, for which 30 trees were poisoned for months, were taken down. These trees were on the Outer Ring Road, on the stretch between Marathahalli and Chinnappannahalli. Now, barely 500 metres from that stretch, 30 trees have yet again been mutilated for the very same reason — to ensure that a hoarding is visible.
Vijay Nishanth, a conservationist and ‘tree doctor’, told TNM that he was tipped off about this on Thursday through Facebook. A check by a local friend confirmed the allegation. “It was definitely for the hoarding,” Vijay tells TNM. “All the other trees in the stretch and on the other side are intact. Only these 30 trees were cut to make the hoarding visible,” he says.
Vijay Nishanth applying bandage and fungicide the trees
On Friday morning, Vijay went to the spot and applied liquid bandages and fungicide to the mutilated stumps of the Tespesia Papulenia (Behandi), Tabebuia Rosea and Pongam trees.
An FIR has already been filed by the BBMP Forest Department against the hoarding.
Shanth Kumar, the Assistant Conservator of Forests, told TNM that the hoarding carried multiple brand names, but it is the advertising agency that is to be blamed.
"We have written to the advertising department and they are yet to revert on the details of the agency. But we will bring it up in the Lokayukta hearing," he says.
“We are pretty sure the hoarding will be taken down. This is a serious issue,” Vijay notes.
This is happening months after two hoardings —for iPhone 7 and Bhima Jewellery — were taken down after it was found that 30 trees were poisoned and had their canopies hacked. Acid was poured down their roots of as many as 17 trees, and the branches of 13 others were hacked just so that these hoardings could be visible.
Vijay and his team were involved in helping the trees recover even then, applying a liquid bandage made of orange oil and bee wax. However, of the poisoned trees, only three could be saved.
“It keeps happening in Bengaluru and it is very disturbing,” Vijay had told TNM then.