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Metro Lines: Controversy over tree removal for Bengaluru Metro Orange Line | Bengaluru News

Metro Lines: Controversy over tree removal for Bengaluru Metro Orange Line | Bengaluru News

Bengaluru: Over 2,000 trees, many of which were grown by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to compensate for the loss of green cover due to Namma Metro and other projects, are now facing the axe. Ironically, they have been proposed to be scrapped for the Orange Line of Metro. Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL), under Phase 3 of Namma Metro, plans to construct a 32-km-long line from JP Nagar to Kempapura by connecting the Pink Line and Blue Line. In the first phase, BMRCL has identified 2,174 trees for removal to construct an elevated line from JP Nagar IV Phase to Mysuru Road, with eight stations, and to widen the road. The BBMP Deputy Conservator of Forests and Trees has initiated a public consultation regarding the removal of these trees. BMRCL is yet to determine the number of trees to be removed for the remaining stretch from Mysuru Road to Kempapura, and for another Orange Line corridor from Hoshalli to Kadabagere (a separate line on Magadi Road). As part of Orange Line, BMRCL is also proposing to build a depot on 75 acres near Sumanahalli junction. Thousands of median trees have already been removed on the ORR stretch in the eastern and northern parts of the city for the construction of the Blue Line, which connects Silk Board to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). To construct the elevated line from Silk Board to KR Pura (Phase 2A), BMRCL had identified 2,522 trees for removal. Of these, 77 were retained, 807 were relocated and 1,638 were removed. From KR Pura to KIA, 3,058 trees were identified for removal, of which 59 were retained, 255 were relocated and 2,744 were removed.Activist: Why all the haste?Dattatraya T Devare, of Bangalore Environment Trust, objected to the public notice for tree removal, saying BMRCL had approached BBMP for removal of hundreds of trees even before Phase 3 was approved by the central government. “BMRCL should conduct environmental impact assessments and make the document public. Metro Phase 3 alignment should not be finalised unless all alternatives to save trees are explored,” he said. Citing the example of construction of an underground metro station near All Saints’ Church in the city, Devare said BMRCL had initially identified 45 trees for felling, but with a change in the design plans, the number was reduced to 16. “As per the Karnataka High Court order, BMRCL and the trees officer are expected to submit quarterly reports on translocation and compensatory reforestation. There are no reports available after August 2023. I find it rather inappropriate to file an application for felling of 2,174 trees after three quarterly reports were not submitted on time,” Devare had said in his representations to the trees officer. He added that the city and its surroundings are facing an environmental crisis and all government agencies should avoid felling trees.