A large majority of the trees to be translocated from Botanical Garden, Kothaguda, to facilitate construction of a flyover under the Strategic Road Development Plan (SRDP) are of subabul and bamboo species.
According to information available, about three-fourths of the trees belong to these two species, which, according to the norms of the tree protection committee under the Forest department, do not require translocation, and may be felled to make way for public infrastructure projects.
GHMC, however, is getting the translocation done at marginal cost of below ₹10 lakh, through a voluntary agency Vata Foundation, which has been offering such services for the past 10 years. The amount will be spent on chemical treatment of branches and roots, and procurement of soil, informed P. Uday Krishna from Vata Foundation.
“We have been doing translocation of trees free of cost wherever they are marked for felling to make way for public infrastructure and other projects. Here, GHMC has requested us to do it, although the trees were not marked for felling and are to be translocated as per the minister’s instructions,” Mr. Uday Krishna said.
Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development K.T. Rama Rao had earlier issued standing instructions for translocation of trees where they obstructed infrastructural projects. Accordingly, a total of 212 trees will have to be translocated from a portion of the Botanical Gardens, for widening of the road in relation to flyover construction. The trees will be shifted to a forest block nearby, where they will have to be maintained by GHMC for the coming two to three years.
Vata Foundation has also got the nod for translocation of more than 300 trees from the Uppal road, the site of an elevated corridor being constructed by the Roads & Buildings department. Majority of these trees, located on the central median, are of Ficus religiosa (Peepal/ Raavi) species.
Initially, the R&B department had applied for permission to cut more than 1,000 trees for this project. The District Tree Protection Committee, after inspection of the site, granted permission to fell only 427 trees, and ordered for translocation of 50 trees. The remaining trees were to be retained. However, as shared by sources, over 200 trees marked for protection have been felled without permission by the executing agency, as they stood on the central median.
After the news was published by The Hindu, a PIL was filed by Vata Foundation in the High Court challenging the illegal felling, prompting the department to come round for translocation.
“A real estate firm has volunteered to have the trees in their project near by, with all expenditures covered,” informed Mr. Uday Krishna. Vata Foundation has translocated over 1,600 trees so far in Hyderabad, Warangal, Nagarkurnool and Nalgonda districts, with survival rate ranging between 50% to 100%. Thanks to the monsoons, survival rate now could be high, hopes Mr. Uday Krishna.