Mangaluru: Some years ago, there was a huge protest by activists when officials from the Forest department arrived to fell the trees. Activists also got a partial victory on 8 September, 2009 for their agitation against felling of trees in the Kankanady -Jeppu – Morgansgate area. The Principal Civil Judge (Junior Division) issued a “status-quo” order to the Mangalore City Corporation and the Forest Department in this regard.
Finally, in December 2015, the Green National Tribunal of Chennai ordered the felling of 52 trees in Kankanady-Jeppu stretch with a bond of planting 104 saplings in the area.
On December 21, at around 10:00pm, the forest department began to cut down trees in Jeppu area. Speaking to Mangalorean.com, Regional Forest Officer Sridhar said, “The Green National Tribunal of Chennai has ordered the felling of 52 trees in the area. The city is growing and the population is increasing. As the population increases, there will be more vehicular movement. To avoid road blocks, we need to widen the roads. There was a huge protest back in 2009 when the MCC ordered the felling of trees in Kankanady-Jeppu stretch during the concreting of the road and the activists brought a stay order to retain the trees.”
He further said, “The Mangalore City Corporation has ordered us to fell 52 trees in the area. We have tried our best to retain trees which are 3 meter away from the road. The MCC has also ordered us to plant 104 saplings by June 2016 and Rs 1,77,000 has also been sanctioned from the MCC for this purpose. We will plant Cherry and Badam saplings on both the side of the roads.”
When asked about the fate of the felled trees, Sridhar said, “After chopping the trees, we will send the wood to Mannugundi Depo in Uppinangady.”
When our correspondent asked a local who was present, whether there is any objection from the Environmental activists against felling of trees, he said, “When we want to build a house in our land, we do not think of the trees. We chop down most of the trees without a second thought but when there is a tree which was planted by the government and when there is a need to cut it down for road widening, some people create problems and protest against cutting of the trees. When there is development, we need to co-operate with the authorities and also see that the trees cut down are compensated by planting saplings else where to maintain the green cover in the city. We talk about smart city but when we need to sacrifice a little for its implementation, we go against the same authorities.”
Wake up Mangaloreans. We are intellectuals, we have to be smart and help the Mangalore City Corporation to fulfill the dream of making Mangaluru a smart city not only with smart people, but smart roads, disciplined vehicular movement and a safe traveling too. Let us all join hands to make our Mangaluru the smartest city in the country.