Our Recent Posts

Archive

Tags

BMRCL gets BBMP to expedite 165 tree cut despite Ktka High Court instructions -HeritageBeku outraged

03/06/2020

Shri H.S. Rangaswamy,

Tree Officer and Deputy Conservator of Forests

Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike

Bangalore

Dear Sir:

Re: Proposed felling of 165 trees for the Bangalore Metro Project

We refer to the shocking report in the Bangalore Mirror dated May 27, 2020 wherein it was reported that the BBMP has permitted the felling of about 165 trees for the Bangalore Metro Rail Project, in order to build five Metro Stations for Reach 6. BMRCL has been permitted to go ahead with the tree-felling after 15 days.

The Report states that the Tree Committee has discussed with BMRCL, the possibility of saving some of the trees. We hereby categorically state that the due process of law has not been followed in ordering the felling of the trees.


As per the judgment of the High Court of Karnataka, no permissions for axing trees should be granted by the appropriate authority unless the Expert Tree Committee submits in writing the procedure and criteria for arriving at the number and type of trees to be axed and the census of trees is conducted. It is amply clear that the census of trees sought to be felled has not been conducted. We are also of the view that the Tree Committee has not finalized its Report on the felling of trees. Public consultation, which is mandatory, has also not been organized and the decision to fell 165 trees has been made in a hasty, surreptitious manner, without following due process of law, taking advantage of the restrictions on movement imposed during the COVID-19 lockdown. In fact, the Report prepared by the Tree Committee should be furnished to the citizens for their review and only then should a public consultation be held, once the citizens have had the opportunity to review the Report. Therefore, the decision of the BBMP in permitting BMRCL to fell 165 trees is patently illegal and ultra vires applicable laws, rules and regulations.

As per the judgment of the High Court of Karnataka on this aspect, a tree should be cut down only after all other alternatives have been examined and exhausted, with no other options to save the tree. There is no transparency or clarity on whether this test stipulated by the High Court of Karnataka has been applied in respect of the trees marked for felling. For instance, age of the tree should not be the only criterion to decide if it should be felled or not. It is also important that the Tree Committee has at least three (3) representatives from the civil society and concerned citizenry of Bengaluru. It is apparent that this requirement has also not been met with.

The arbitrary order to fell 165 trees is also against the provisions of the Zonal Regulations (Amendment) 2020 Act. The Heritage Committee constituted under the provisions of the Zonal Regulations (Amendment) 2020 should also be consulted and involved as the trees constitute natural heritage structures as per the provisions thereunder.

As responsible citizens of Bengaluru, we do not want even a single tree to be cut as far as possible. Other options should be actively considered. Whilst we are all for the Metro and other public utility projects, these projects should be planned in such a way that the greenery of the city is not compromised in any manner. We hereby request you to withdraw the permission granted to BMRCL, conduct a census of the trees, table the Report of the Tree Committee and call for a public hearing to discuss the requirement for felling the trees. We look forward to your prompt action.

Thanking You,

Yours Sincerely,

Team Heritage Beku


CC : Chief Secretary

CC: Tree Committee Chairman

CC: MD, BMRCL

CC: Hon High Court

 

©2019 by #HeritageBeku.  All Rights Reserved.