Hyderabad: The Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) authorities have repeatedly assured one and all that even though 3,000 trees had to be cut down to make way for the new service, they would do their best to compensate for the same by translocating trees to the Outer Ring Road and planting saplings along the metro route. So far, they have translocated 384 of the 1250 trees uprooted last year between Miyapur and Ameerpet. A staggering amount of Rs 96 lakh has been spent for the same. But is that kind of expenditure justified?
The cost for translocating a tree ranges from Rs 15,000 to Rs 40,000 and Rs 25,000 can be taken as an average cost per tree, a senior HMR official said on condition of anonymity. The figures have raised a few eyebrows, particularly among experts. “It is irrational to spend so much for relocating a tree to a different location. It should not cost so much,” opined Dr BMK Reddy, an agricultural scientist at the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA).
According to him, the climate in India is such that it allows trees to grow at a faster pace when compared to other countries. It makes sense to plant saplings. He further pointed out that Ficus, mostly found in Miyapur in particular and Hyderabad in general, doesn’t have commercial value either. “I have been to other countries and in the west, due to the severe weather conditions, trees take a very long time to grow, so they translocate,” explained Dr Reddy adding that soil texture and composure is much softer in western countries, which makes translocation a viable option.
So far, the Hyderabad Metro Rail authorities have translocated 384 of the 1250 trees uprooted last year.
Dr. Janardhan Reddy, botany professor and former principal of the University College of Science, Osmania University, also echoed the same views. “The cost of labour per tree should not exceed more than a few thousands. I don’t think it will take so much, even if you include the digging, and other charges,” he said. “Only if the trees are shifted without disturbing the roots, and also without exposing them to the air, can the process be successful,” he explained.
Janardhan Reddy also stated that the chances of the trees to grow after translocation depend on the age as well. “If a tree is 2-3 years old, it can adjust to the new environment, but if they are more than four years old, they won’t survive,” he added. Dr Reddy also pointed out that “unlike here, manpower is very expensive abroad. Here, it is relatively cheaper.”