Activists set to confront authorities on road widening

Environmentalists and social activists of Mysuru – who are agitating over the proposed felling of nearly 150 trees to pave way for a helipad – are set to confront the authorities again as there is another proposal to fell 50 trees for road widening.

The proposed road widening is in Vijayanagar and the Mysuru Urban Development Authority (MUDA) has already identified the trees with a marker, which has upset the local community.

Social activists have flayed the MUDA and said that any such movewithout permission from the Forest Department was in violation of the law.

Another online campaign on the lines of the online petition through which elicited over 65,000 signatures against the heli-tourism project, is now being contemplated to bring pressure on the MUDA to prevent tree felling.

Bhamy V. Shenoy, a social activist, said even as Mysuru was dealing with a major environmental crisis of losing hundreds of trees to make space for an helipad that is not needed near the Lalitha Mahal Palace hotel, people are facing another such hazard. India as a signatory to Paris agreement cannot afford to cut even one tree which need not be felled, he added.

Dr. Shenoy argued that though it was not possible to put any value to a tree’s benefit to mankind, one has to do quantify it and engage in cost-benefit analysis to prove that it does not benefit anyone to fell trees for road widening.

Questioning the need for widening the street of a layout which was recently developed, activists are bracing for another round of fight with the authorities in their bid to save the trees.

Incidentally, the MUDA in its budget for 2021-22 has earmarked funds to improve the green cover of the city. Activists have pointed out that it was an exercise in contradiction. On the one hand the MUDA wants to plant more trees, and on the other hand it wants to fell the existing and fully grown trees which will neutralise any benefit of tree planting, said the activists.

The Forest Department on its part has no funds for urban greenery this year due to resource constraints faced by the State government because of the pandemic. Hence any tree felled cannot be replaced and the decision of MUDA has come in for flak.

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