The nine gaint trees that were translocated by Bangalore Metro Rail at Manekshaw Parade Ground from MG Road in 2007 have not survived.
The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation, which presently does not have an environmental officer, remains blissful in denial with Public Relation Officer (PRO) Ravi Prakash believing that all the nine trees have survived and growing. He was also quick to shrug off any responsibility saying post transplantation the responsibility of translocated trees had been transferred to the Defence authorities.
BMRCL’s then environment officer Yellappa Reddy accepted the zero success rate and blamed the Defence authorities for not having taken appropriate care of the trees after transplantation. He added that older trees could not have been saved and only trees which were 35 years or less were taken as they have the vigor to survive.
He was quick to defend the technique of translocation and said: “All possible precautions were taken while transplanting, preparation of the site, pruning of roots and branches etc. But trees are like humans. After surgery, care needs to be taken. Post operational care by the defence was very poor.”
He added that success rate all over Bangalore had been excellent and cited successful operations at Nice Road and Bangalore University where over 20 trees were translocated with a 100 per cent success rate.
The Defence Public Relations Officer, M S Patil was reluctant to comment, but added that recently BMRCL and defence together had planted more than 50 saplings on the Parade Grounds which were thriving.
Environmentalists however, remain dismayed. Leo Saldanha of Environmental Support Group said the trees were translocated unscientifically and no pilot study conducted to check whether it would actually work.
He added that there were multiple factors contributing to failure: like root shock, and especially poor management. Taking a strong stand against the concept, he said: “Just because translocation is an option it should not be used as an excuse to fell trees.”
MG Road had lost jacarandas, gulmohars, rain trees and bougainvilleas all along the road. The project was taken as a pilot study at the cost of Rs three lakh and this exercise was supposed to be emulated further in the City to keep the infrastructural growth and environmental sustenance in tandem.