Time you put the green back in Garden City

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Bangalore, June 13: The loss of green cover in the city is perceivable. This can obviously be felt in the increase in daytime temperatures and decrease in the number of bird species.

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) routinely makes a big song and dance about its plantation drives every year. It even plants saplings symbolically on World Environment Day each year. The BBMP supposedly planted 1.72 lakh saplings last year. However, by the BBMP’s own moderate estimation, more than 20 per cent may have died.

BBMP’s Chief Conservator of Forests Brijesh Kumar told The Hindu the civic authority would now take up “casualty replacement” this monsoon. “All the seedlings that died will be replaced. We have 7.56 lakh saplings of various species ready in the eight nurseries.”

Free saplings

On June 5 last year, the BBMP had reportedly given away 3,217 saplings for free to the citizens, besides planting 441 at Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra (GKVK), Soundarya Layout, Freedom Park and H.M.T. Layout.

This time around, as part of World Environment Day celebrations, it planned for 4,380 saplings.

Monsoon plan

“This monsoon, we hope to plant 1.6 lakh saplings across the city: 40,000 each will be planted in Bommanahalli and R.R. Nagar zones, 30,000 in Yelahanka zone, 15,000 in Dasarahalli zone, 10,000 each in Mahadevapura, West and South zones and 5,000 in East zone.” Though there was emphasis on planting only indigenous species, the BBMP was not able to do so last year. “We wanted to clear the old stock, which did have exotic species. It was due to this that we did not feel the need to raise fresh saplings,” he conceded.

Mandatory planting

In a press release, BBMP commissioner M. Lakshminarayana stated that the civic body would now enforce the regulation that stipulates that two trees should be planted in sites measuring 60 ft x 40 ft, three on those measuring 50 ft x 80 ft, four in those measuring over 50 ft x 80 ft, and at least 25 per acre. This will help recharge groundwater table.

The BBMP would take up tree mapping this year and put in place a mechanism where citizens can alert the civic authority about diseased and dead trees posing a danger. The release added that an online platform for the same would be ready in three months.

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