Mangaluru: While on one side the Government/district administration/Mangaluru City Corporation are observing “Vanamahotsava” by planting bunch of trees, with ministers/VIPs gracing the occasion-but on the other side the same people are issuing orders to axe down decades old trees to make way for widening and upgrading the road as a four-lane concrete road between Fr Muller Hospital-Kankanady till Koti Chennaya Circle (Nandigudda Circle). Over 50 trees will be chopped down on this stretch, with bunch of them already axed down. Despite protests and requests from environmentalists to save many of these 20- 40 year-old trees were ignored.
The loss of these tress means the loss of a most unique and irreplaceable seed bank of indigenous tree species in the open areas where few such trees exist, imperative to natural re-seeding over time. They represent an ecological corridor few kilometres in length for all kinds of bird species, and their destruction is the loss of reseeding of trees in the future and the decimation of such habitat. Any re-plantation programmes will not be able to replace such tree species like Rain tree, Peltophorum and Goli Mara. To compensate for the loss of these trees, MCC has given land to the Forest department on the same stretch to plant saplings like Cherry, Badam, Jamun and Renja. But no trees will replace the decade old trees that were chopped down.
Although the move by the MCC to cut these trees cannot be justified as they proceeded in axing down these trees not not notifying the environmentalists/green activists. It is learnt that when MCC was in a bid to chop down these trees to give way for road widening, social activists like Vidya Dinker and Eric Ozario had opposed MCCs plan and had launched a movement called “Appiko”. These activists even tied ribbons on these trees and pledged to protect them. But now it seems like MCC has executed their plans in secret, and the activists are left helpless unable to launch a protest.
Now that these bunch of trees which have been chopped, and the cut branches/wood are left behind on the roadside are creating nuisance for pedestrians, especially school going children walking past these log of wood which may accidentally fall on them. It has been over a week that these trees have been cut, and until now the cut branches/wood have not been taken away. This is a safety hazard for people walking on this stretch of road, and with all these pieces of tree cuttings scattered all over, chances are people may trip and fall . It’s time that MCC looks into this matter and clear the roadside filled with cut tree branches etc, before someone gets seriously hurt.
Every child in India knows the implications of the loss of trees. The important function of water harvesting and storage by the mycozoical web of fibrous layers between the roots, their ability to prevent run-off and soil erosion that could lead to desertification and their vital role as sinks for absorption of carbon dioxide – are irreplaceable. Trees also provide shade and are a natural source of fruit and medicine for humans and a vital habitat for thousands of birds and small animals. At a time when India is faced with falling water tables and rising temperatures, only the completely blind would choose to cut our green lungs. If the administration can’t save the trees, why even bother to observe “Vanamahotsava”-plant saplings and waste time.