What happens after they’ve cut down every tree in sight?

I was in the thick of traffic the other day driving somewhere and the traffic hadn’t moved for a few hours. Okay, it wasn’t a few hours, but it was close to half hour. As usual, people had jammed up the road by treating the two way road like a one-way road – this meant that the on-coming traffic now had absolutely nowhere to go.

So the result was that we were stuck. And badly. And of course, no one had any clue what to do after that. The rickshaws and motorbikes got onto the pavement. That’s one thing I am happy about – that Bangalore hardly has pavements because most of the times they’re used by 2 wheelers :-)

Earlier, they had cut down all the trees in the surrounding area – if you folks have been on St. John’s Road recently – you’ll see how mercilessly they’ve chopped down everything. I saw huge bulldozers one day and tree stumps lying all around the side of the road. The next day, everything was gone. This was one beautiful road – the stately old gulmohar trees providing the much needed shade by forming a canopy over you.

What have they done now? Cut off all of them – more than 50 of them I think – to make the road the size of a football field. Did they ask anyone before they decided to take up their axe?

Unfortunately, none of the other connecting roads are so wide so we are stuck with the same congestion problem – again. And it was proof that all the tree-chopping by the tree mafia hadn’t changed a thing. We were still stuck in one position for 1/2 hour now despite them making St John’s road the size of a football field.

Wider roads within reason is fine but what is this mindless chopping without a second thought? Without any concern or approval from citizens (is this allowed? do we have any rights?!). How many more trees will they cut and how wide will they go? And what when they’ve finished cutting down everything in sight? What will they do after that? Have they figured out that one day, there won’t be anything left to cut and chop off?

We really need people who are slightly smarter and think a little when on the road too. And that is going to be a challenge, always. Can you imagine a motorist pausing and thinking, “maybe I shouldn’t go that way and block all the incoming traffic”. Road sense I am afraid, especially when in times when most needed, goes away with the wind (perhaps it was never there to begin with).

We need more traffic cops out there sorting out traffic problems. Where do these people disappear when you need them? We need more ways to get from one place to another! We need a whole new underground train system that will take off half off the motorists and vehicles off the roads.

I think we need a lot more than mindless tree-chopping and I am afraid that by the time this city finds out, it’s going to be too late. It is already too late.

It took me 2 hours to reach from Koramangala to Silk Board, a distance of about 3-4 kms.

5 Comments so far

  1. cowardheart on August 20th, 2008 @ 6:57 pm

    Once the trees are all gone, they’ll start drives to plant saplings in new layouts 50 kms away. Oh what an opportunity to preen and strut about .. cooing about all the great efforts to make Bangalore (Note Bangalore not Bengaluru) retain its misnomer "the Garden City".

  2. inetk on August 20th, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

    Sarjapur Road looks terribly bland and scary because of this indiscriminate tree felling. I still remember – back in 2000/01, I used to travel past the St. John’s signal. It used to a manual signal since there wasn’t too much traffic and the road actually had a tree in the middle of the road! They had left the tree for an year or two since I landed in Bangalore in November 2000 and one day it was gone. I used to admire the city till the point the tree was preserved despite its unfortunate location!

    Now, the road look wide and quite shameful. I just pray that the other side service road is also not sacrificed and the trees this side stay. Just hoping!

  3. Prasad Govenkar (govenkar) on August 20th, 2008 @ 11:03 pm

    Couple of days back near the Bannergatta road, I guess its just a parallel road , a big huge tree was being chopped. I couldnt see any valid reason except for that fact that it was blocking the view of a new upcoming building. Not sure what they are looking for. Building a house so that they can never live peacefully there.
    All the best

  4. venky (venkick) on August 22nd, 2008 @ 5:56 pm

    IMO instead of bulldozing the trees, the powers that be should bulldoze the ppl who obstruct oncoming traffic…thats the reason for traffic jams not the trees. This tree chopping gimmick is only to pacify ordinary citizens who are actually the problem in the first place.Its number of ppl who have increased not the number of trees. What amazes me is that the ppl who take traffic rules for granted in India are the ones who follow it religiously when they reach foriegn shores. Its the attitude and traffic sense of road users that should be repaired not the roads.That I think is the only long term solution to the mess we have in Blore and elsewhere in India.

  5. vidyut12 on September 5th, 2008 @ 4:44 pm

    It was really painful to see the old trees swept off the Race course road and the sidewalks lining the Golf Course in High Grounds. There was talk of planting saplings but nothing is showing. When they chopped off trees in The Parade Grounds for the MG Road stretch of Metro, they did try valiantly to save and relocate a few magnificent specimens. But sadly the benevolent enterprise turned out to be only an eye wash, a token gesture, abandoned after the two photo splashes in the newspapers. We dont need more or swanky roads, just law-abiding, saner commuters and , equally importantly, better mass public transport. I think Singapore’s system of limiting vehicle ownership by applying a prohibitive ownership licence fee is an effective measure to decongest roads. Just look around, you will see monstrously huge cars with just one passenger each,often all going to the same destination ( Office, school or theatre) Such a waste of fuel and roadspace. Have we all become too individualistic and unsocial to use carpools ?

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