HYDERABAD: With the Hyderabad Metro Rail project picking up momentum, environmental activists and concerned citizens are raising their voice against the destruction of trees in the city. About 3,000 trees need to be removed or translocated in the three metro rail corridors. Of them, the HMR corporation has already felled 340 and translocated 384 but is finding it difficult to uproot 3 others on the LB Nagar-Miyapur stretch where the initial works are in progress. In the same stretch, around 1,189 trees are going to be cut down and what more, they are not “fit for translocation,” according to the HMR officials.
The HMR has identified two places to relocate a roadside temple at Kukatpally and got local support for the same, but it has hit a roadblock at Erragadda and Moosapet. Locals at Moosapet are opposing the destruction of two trees at the Nalla Pochamma temple while at Erragadda, residents are vehemently opposed to the uprooting a tree at the Bangara Maisamma temple.
“The authorities have informed that they would remove the tree and move it to a place near Erragadda Rythu bazaar, which is quite far away. The locals are attached to the tree and we cannot let their sentiments be hurt. We are still waiting for the official response,” said Srinivas, priest at the 79-year-old Bangara Maisamma temple. What he doesn’t know perhaps is that the HMR is contemplating to move even the temple! “We are trying to hold talks with the locals to educate them about the importance of the metro rail project and the need to translocate the trees adjacent to the temples and relocate the temples,” said a HMR official.
As approved by the Forest Department, the HMR has translocated 384 trees, mostly Raavi (Ficus racemosa) and Marri (Ficus bengalensis) and cut 340 trees which are not fit for translocation, with compensatory plantation in the ratio of 1:5. Not all trees could be translocated as they are not fit for such a process. In some cases, the success rate of the translocation is also taken into consideration to avoid unnecessary costs, said the official.
Native tree species like Raavi and Marri are being translocated to the Outer Ring Road and saplings are being planted at the metro rail casting yard at Uppal, Ramachandrapuram, Balanagar, BITS Pilani campus and along the widened portions of metro corridors.