Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Tree Planting

                                                  Tree Planting


To mitigate hazards due to global warming, tree planting is to be encouraged. Tree lovers are struggling hard to retain trees affected from road widening by Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP). They are organizing agitations, preventing persons entrusted to cut trees, and arguing with BBMP authorities. This happened a few years back when BBMP commenced widening of Sankey Road by removal of well grown trees. Similar agitations were held for widening of Sampige Road and road along Bangalore Palace. The Sankey Road residents were even arrested and later released . Their interest is not to affect environment by removal of trees, is to be appreciated. Sankey Road residents are showing the way to residents of other parts of the city to protect trees in their respective localities. Such active citizens should be honoured for their good citizenship. Such devoted people should be elected as corp orators and legislators in the interest of improvement of the city. There should also be awareness for proper footpaths for use by pedestrians, pedestrian crossings, rejuvenation of vanishing lakes, etc.

BBMP may review its road widening program to see whether all the roads proposed for widening are required to be widened in view of the introduction of Metro Rail and proposal to take up Mono Rail networks, and bus transport as feeder service. Road traffic is expected to be less by about 40% after such multi-modal transportation is introduced. There is also a proposal by the Railways to introduce Suburban Rail to help the commuters. The efforts of some European cities is to create hardship for movement of private vehicles by prohibiting private vehicles in the central business district during peak hours, and levy of congestion tax for movement of private vehicles in the central area. The idea is to force the citizens to use mass transportation. But, we have to consider such policies only after effective provision of metro rail and mono rail net works and not till then. 

Some of the architects and builders interested in improving urban environment are providing vertical gardens in tall structures and on terraces. More and more instances of civic awareness are likely in future due to environmental degradation, global warming, etc. affecting living conditions. 

The good living conditions in earlier times with sincere administration in providing parks and tree planting for the benefit of people is mentioned herein. We have read in history books about the good administration by some rulers. It is mentioned among their achievements in the administration that the rulers formed avenues with trees and formed parks. The capital cities of the earlier rulers have roads with tree planting, good parks, landscaping, boulevards, public buildings with good landscaping, etc. Mysore, Delhi, Jaipur are examples of such cities. New Delhi developed by British rulers is an example of good roads with trees, parks, landscaping around heritage structures, etc. Moghul Kings contributed a lot for landscaping in their palaces and premises of heritage buildings. Even industrialists like Tatas have contributed to good tree planting in city like Jamshedpur. Hyder Ali developed Lal Bagh in Bangalore. During the Britishers rule, Cubbon Park was developed. Bangalore Palace area is another example of good tree cover around Palace building. Role of former army officers is to be appreciated for forming good cantonment areas providing wide roads with tree planting, parks and playgrounds, etc. Cities like; Bangalore, Belgaum etc, are examples of good urban development by army officers. Le Corbusier is remembered for his valuable contribution in the design of Chandigarh City where one third of the city area was used for forming parks, gardens, avenue trees, green strips, urban forestry, etc. Adequate provision for green spaces are made in Chandigarh for good environment.

In Singapore, green corridors are developed connecting parks and natural valleys. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, private sector is involved under public-private partnership to plant trees and monthly progress in tree planting reviewed. Such policies and programs are required to be introduced in large cities of India in the interest of improving environment.

BBMP has its own Horticulture Section . Most of the park areas reserved in BDA extensions and enforced in private layouts are lying as vacant spaces where debris and garbage are dumped. There are instances of encroachment also in the neglected park areas. BDA may develop the park areas before handing over its layouts and private layouts to BBMP for maintenance. 

The Horticulture Department and the Forest Department may also take up parks/mini forest projects in Bangalore to contribute towards bringing back the name of Garden City. Tree planting may be taken up in wider roads formed by BDA like Outer Ring Road and other roads.

In view of Global warming and indifferent weather conditions, serious action is necessary by civic agencies as well as private sector developers, builders, and Corporate companies to provide tree planting as much as possible in their projects.

The Karnataka High Court observed during November, 2014, that the state administration is not aware of the number of trees in Bangalore, how much green space is lost in the recent years to make way for high-rise buildings and infrastructure projects. The Honourable Court directed the State government to constitute a ‘Tree Authority’ under section 3 of the Karnataka Trees Preservation Act,1976. It was directed that the Authority has to closely examine every tree before it is fell. The aim is to ensure transparency, reduce air pollution, and maintain greenery. This was reported in Deccan Herald news paper dated 13-11-2014. It was mentioned in the press report that BBMP formed earlier two committees separately for Bangalore North Taluk and Bangalore South Taluk, but they have not met even once till date. Environmental experts commented that such lapses in governance is unfortunate. As the effects of Global warming is bad, Government should monitor actions by BBMP for improving greenery. 

Earlier, 15% of the layout area was reserved for parks and open spaces in BDA extensions as well as private layouts. But, in the Master Plan – 2015, the provision was reduced to 10%. Due to this, the result is more of concrete surfaces and less of open spaces. At least, the same percentage or more should have been maintained in the interest of mitigating the hazards of deteriorating environment. Why not they follow the example of Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Sao Paulo in Brazil, and Chandigarh, etc. Master Plan-2031 which is under preparation by BDA , should make higher provision for parks and open spaces. It should be 15% of the layout area, this has to be ensured by Government while according approval to the Master Plan-2031. 



City roads and highways

Boundaries of playgrounds

Open spaces in public premises

Lands not fit for building purposes

Green Belt (Agricultural Zone)

Natural valley margins, and 

Apartments, and commercial complexes.

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