by Savney Monteiro, Pics by JP, Team Mangalorean
Mangaluru: Rastriya Parisara Samrakshana Okkuta (RPSO) held an ‘Appiko’ protest at the Kadri Park here, on March 14.
The protest was against the felling of trees at the former Deer Park, where a Musical Fountain is proposed to be built. The protestors climbed a tree and dared the contractors to burn the tree when they were on it.
Secretary of RPSO Sashidhar Shetty Thumbay said, “A tree gives us about Rs 2.5 lakh worth of free oxygen every year and in the name of development the administration is cutting down these precious trees. They have already started destruction of the Western Ghats and river Netravati by starting a Rs 13,000 crore project (Yettinahole Project) and now they want to destroy our park in Mangaluru. This is not true development, they are only burning tax payer’s money.”
He said that there was no need of any Musical Fountain at the cost of greenery. “When we complained to the forest officials, they spoke to us in a rude manner and said that we were hindering development. We will celebrate Vanamahotsava on June 5 and plant saplings in this very spot. We want to see the animals and birds come back to this place,” he added.
Dinesh Holla said, “Ministers say that they want to build parks, but this is not the way to build parks by cutting down trees. If tomorrow a builder comes forward to build a building in the Kadri Park and promises the minister a Rs 2 crore apartment, then the minister will be ready to sign the permission letter.”
Dinesh Pai Kateel said, “When we enquired with the forest officials as to how many trees were cut down for development, they said that in the past 10 years trees were cut down at the rate of 7 to 8 trees every year. But this year alone, they have brought down more than 100 trees in the name of development. We will file a criminal case against the Environment Minister and MUDA for cutting down the trees in this park without proper authorization.”
He further said, “MLA JR Lobo spoke so much about greenery but this destruction of environment has come during his term, he should not be silent. All leaders should come together and discuss for a proper solution as we are not against building a Musical Fountain.”