A section of Bengaluru residents who have been desperately trying, for the past couple of weeks, to save the trees marked for felling at the HAL junction were in for a shock on Sunday morning. Two large Rain Trees were found to have multiple holes drilled into the bark. Activists susepct that the trees were injected with poisonous chemicals to make it easier for felling, despite stiff public opposition. Already, more than 10 trees have been cut and the activists had protested and temporarily stopped the axing of the other trees.
On March 21, more than 150 persons had staged a protest against the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in the same junction demanding officials revisit their decision.
Read: Human chain formed to protest the felling of trees at Bengaluruâ€™s HAL junction
â€śMy brother was travelling on the road and was shocked to see holes drilled. These two trees were the largest, and we have been trying to save them. We needed at least four people to form a chain around them. After this, some of us, including the local corporator went to check on the trees. I have written to senior IAS officer and BBMP Administrator Gaurav Gupta and sought an appointment,â€ť said Swathi Damodaran, a local resident, to TNM.
While 25 trees were cleared for felling for the upcoming underpass in that junction, residents have been vehemently opposing the BBMPâ€™s plan and have stated that a modified alignment can save many old trees.
In her email, she argued that at least four such large trees, which are decades old, can be saved with a minor modification of the proposed alignment.
Swathi had even approached the Karnataka High Court seeking a direction to not only save these trees but also establish a transparent and consultative process for all tree felling needed for infrastructural projects.
Read: 10 trees at Bengaluruâ€™s HAL junction axed, residents say public not consulted
Speaking to TNM, BBMP officials said they had all the necessary permission to chop these trees as mandated by the Karnataka High Court. The HC as part of ongoing litigation had recently appointed an expert committee to okay tree cuttings after it found lapses with the system put in place.
Ranganatha Swamy, Deputy Conservator of Forests, BBMP, said that they cannot halt the project permanently on account of these protests.