NH169 Road Widening from Bikarnakatte-Mijar Greens Hope to Save 400 Trees
Mangaluru: Following an interaction with NHAI and Forest department officials near the entrance of Kulshekar/Cordel Hall, Environmentalists have expressed confidence in saving at least 400 trees, out of the 2,616 trees that are proposed to be felled in Mangaluru forest division.
According to an estimate, more than 3,500 trees will be axed for the widening of the 18.5 km stretch of NH-169, between Bikarnakatte and Mijar. Following a public hearing held at the Mangaluru range forest officer’s office on 15 June 2022, the forest department, along with National Highways Authority of India officials, conducted a survey on the stretch.
Environmentalist Dinesh Holla said, “We want to save as many trees as possible. The transplantation of trees undertaken by environmentalist Jeet Milan Roche so far, has seen a good success rate. We are for development, and understand the needs of the city, and our efforts are only to save trees and protect them, especially in the wake of climate change. There are close to 400-500 trees that were just planted a few months ago, which could be easily transplanted. We are confident that at least 400 trees can be saved. We have also requested the forest department to provide details of the trees planted for every tree axed”.
Jeeth Roche who has successfully transplanted trees in the past has promised to do it and NHAI officials have extended full support to him, including footing the costs involved. Range forest officer Prashanth Pai said, “The trees would be cut, only after carrying out an inspection, and making sure that no bird’s nest with fledgelings or eggs are in the trees. We are raising a cause that is above politics, and the public must join hands to fight climate change, that even Mangaluru is witness to,”.
The forest officials have said that efforts will be made to save a maximum number of trees. A report will be submitted to senior officials for further action. Earlier the meeting at Cordel saw heated arguments among those in favour and against the felling of trees. If you look at the road stretch on NH169 between Bikkarnakatte to Mijar/Sanoor, both sides of the road are lined with fully grown trees, some even 100 years old.
Er Rajendra Kumar (in red shirt) interacting with NHAI Official Mohammed Nasir
Meanwhile, Er K P Rajendra Kumar, an Civil Engineer and active member of DK Aam Aadmi Party has submitted a letter to NHAI, which states as follows :
NHAI Office- Mangalore
Attn To: Project Director – NHAI Mangaluru
Sub: Cutting of trees along the Proposed 4 lane highway NH169 from Mangalore to Mudubire regarding
This has reference to the joint survey planned by the NHAI & Karnataka Forest department with the general
public on 20 th June 2022 and the meeting held near Cordel Hall Kulshekar on the above subject. In this
regard, I wish to bring to your kind attention the following:
1) The government authorities have identified various trees (about 1300 in Numbers) which are proposed to be cut for the proposed NH169 development. It is placed on record by me that in order to safeguard few structures the highway was realigned. Did the authorities have on record the effect of realignment on the number of trees which are proposed for cutting? Kindly provide me with the complete details of the number of trees which would have been cut in the original proposed alignment as against the present realigned route.
2) The elected representatives (MP, MLA and local corporators) took up the issue of few properties and thus the highway was realigned. Did the authorities or the elected representatives bother to check the effect of the realignment on the environment? I request for the copy of the detailed report/study in this regard.
3) It was mentioned in the meeting by your staff that the department has tagged all the trees and their complete details are available with the department. I would like to access the same. Kindly provide us with the complete details.
4) On behalf of the general public, I demand your office to upload all the studies performed including the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the NH169 for the various phases of the Highway development.
K P Rajendra Kumar