Long ago in 1973, people of the Bishnoi community in Rajasthan began an environment conservation movement against the king's order of demolishing the trees they considered sacred. They began hugging the trees and forming human chains around them to save them from cutting. The movement brought about a revolutionary change in people's attitude towards forests and their rampant deforestation.
This time, it's the residents of Bengaluru who are putting up a great fight against the authorities that are bent on demolishing the trees to expand a hospital building.
The animal husbandry department of Bengaluru's Government Veterinary Hospital near Queen’s Road has decided to build a multi-specialty hospital on the premises. For this, they require to chop down the trees that have been there for a long time.
This angered the locals who resolved to save the city's lungs and began gathering in the hospital premises to protest the move. From artists and musicians to dancers and fashion designers, people from various arenas flocked to the government hospital to register their anger against the move.
The protesters also demand that the new building should be designed in such a way that no tree is harmed.
While the authorities have ensured that only 4 trees will be chopped off, the locals claim that over 54 trees have already been marked for cutting, reported Bangalore Mirror.
While a music band from Bengaluru, Across the Rasthe, composed a song Jagao Mere Desh Ke supporting the cause, children made environment-themed sketches to raise awareness. The cause even caught the attention of Salumarada Thimmakka, a noted environmentalist, who also gave her support to the issue.
As reported by the Bangalore Mirror, Harini Raghavan, Director with a global consulting firm, said:
"Do you know the significance of this huge tree located in the middle of this campus? This tree is one of those that were planted 70 years ago. These trees have been living even before the government came into existence. They have served us without any expectations. Can’t the authorities take note of this."
But the plea of the protesters seems to have fallen on deaf ears, as is evident from the statement of Nagendra, Deputy Director of Animal Husbandry:
"First of all, who gave these people the permission to enter the hospital premises and organise such fashion shows and concerts? They have not obtained permission from our department. This is a hospital. Already construction work is going on there. I am going to put barricades near the entrance and block everyone from entering the premises. I believe all this was purely a media stunt."
Here's hoping better sense prevails and the authorities don't demolish the trees.