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| Last Updated::16/07/2021

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Bengaluru: Forest department wants to cut 6,000 trees for revival of Singanayakanahalli lake, invites objections

 The forest department said the trees are hampering rejuvenation of Singanayakanahalli Lake

BENGALURU: In what could be another major blow to biodiversity, the forest department has initiated a public consultation to cut 6,316 trees on the outskirts of Bengaluru to rejuvenate Singanayakanahalli Lake, off Doddaballapura Road.
In a public notification, the department said the 6,316 trees are hampering lake rejuvenation, which has been taken up by the department of minor irrigation and groundwater development.


This is part of Hebbal-Nagawara valley project, which fills 65 tanks in
Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural and Chikkaballapura districts. While the forest department has said objections, if any, should reach it before June 24, activists have demanded it revisit the decision.
According to the department, a majority of the trees are of the species Prosopis juliflora (Jaali Mara), but locals have raised concerns over Acacia and Pongame oiltree (Honge Mara) also facing the axe. The area is also home to peacocks which belong to Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, foxes, snakes, birds and other animals.
‘Don’t fell Acacia, oiltree’
Some locals say they are not opposed to cutting of Prosopis juliflora, but axing Acacia and Pongame oiltree is unacceptable.
“If it was about reviving a water body, what was the government doing all this while? Real estate interest is growing in these areas, which may be one of the reasons for the move. Politicians with vested interests too may be involved in the decision,” said Mahanthesh (name changed on request), a local.
Vijay Nishanth, urban conservationist, said it wouldn’t be easy to compensate for the damage to biodiversity if the trees are cut.
Ramprasad V, lake expert, said, “Trees and lakes can very much coexist. There is no need for trees to be cut for the purpose of lake rejuvenation. Lakes can be restored as ecological and environmental lakes and it needn’t always be done with walking paths, ring bund and beautification. Desilting can be done without cutting these trees and they can be integral part of the lake and save the ecosystem.”

“The trees here are over 40 years old. They (the authorities) should plant saplings, see how many survive and let them grow for a minimum number of years. After that we can have a discussion on felling of these trees. Cutting off so many in one go will have a huge impact on the microclimate of Bengaluru,” he added.

Recently, BBMP had approved the cutting of 1,293 trees in the upcoming days for development work, mainly the Namma Metro project.

Between May 2020 and May 2021, the Palike had received representations to chop off trees for 10 Namma Metro works, one underpass, a road-widening project and a subway construction.
The agency declined permission to cut 196 trees and ordered relocation of 395.