Deputy Conservator of Forests and Tree Officer Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, N.R. Square Annexe Building-3, Bangalore Phone: 9916649023
Email : email@example.com
Re: Official Memorandum No. DCF/PR/1095/2022-23 dated 16/09/2022
We refer to the captioned Official Memorandum issued for removal of 60 roadside trees standing near the Radhakrishna Temple, Amarjyothi Layout, RMV 2nd stage, Ward No.18, Bangalore- 560094, for the purpose of widening a storm water drain.
We note a conflict of interest in this case as the trees are sought to be felled by the Assistant Executive Engineer, BBMP and the permission for tree felling is sought from the Deputy Conservator of Forests and Tree Officer, also from the BBMP. Legally it is important that a committee independent of the BBMP looks into the application for tree felling made by the Executive Engineer, BBMP. Therefore, the present Official Memorandum should be withdrawn, and an independent committee be constituted to look into the issue of tree felling for the project in question. It is submitted that there is absolutely no justification for the proposed tree felling, to widen a storm water drain. Trees by themselves serve as excellent ways and means to prevent flooding as they form a catchment area for rainwater and also improve the water table. They are as effective as storm water drains in preventing flooding and stagnation of water. Their action of trapping the rainwater also enriches the soil and helps improve its quality. In fact, by felling trees for widening a storm water drain, the flood situation will become worse as the area will lose valuable greenery which serves as an effective measure to prevent flooding.
In Writ Petition No.7288/2011 (Suo Moto versus Government of Karnataka and others), the High Court of Karnataka has directed that felling of trees be undertaken as an exception rather than a rule and further that the Tree Officer and Tree Authority would have to fully satisfy themselves and certify that all other alternatives have been considered regarding the feasibility of felling of trees, before permitting the felling of even a single tree.
As you are aware, pursuant to the judgment in the Public Interest Litigation petition filed by Dattatreya M Devare and Bangalore Environment Trust, the High Court of Karnataka ordered that the Tree Committee constituted should submit in writing the procedure and criteria for arriving at the number and type of trees to be axed and should issue its Report. Most importantly, whenever there is a proposal for felling of trees, the Expert Committee should examine whether the trees proposed to be felled could be saved by adopting any method and felling of trees should be considered only if it is found that after exhausting all methods, it is found that it is impossible to save any tree.impossible to save any tree.
The High Court has also opined that felling even one single tree could have an adverse impact on the environment, as once a tree is felled, it is permanently lost. In the present case, the criterion of public interest is certainly not fulfilled as felling the trees will lead to further damage to the environment and ecology and will in fact worsen the flood situation. Therefore, it is requested that the tree felling exercise for the purpose of widening the storm water drain be stopped immediately..
For Team Heritage Beku
Priya Chetty Rajagopal, Prabha Dev and Veena Krishnan
Objections to public notice-SWD-250922
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