The lyrics of ‘Jagao Mere Desh ke’ resounded, as ‘Across the Rasthe’ sang to an audience of over 200 people.
Only this time, there was no stage — just a platform under a giant tree outside the century-old Government Veterinary Hospital in Bengaluru.
‘Green Wake – #CelebrateCreateCry,’ hosted by Priya Chetty Rajagopal, organised a rally on Sunday to raise concerns about the felling of trees in the hospital’s complex after the Animal Husbandry Department of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) proposed to demolish the clinic and build a two-storeyed multi-speciality hospital in its place.
The Chipko movement came alive when citizens championing the cause started hugging trees, making human chains and raising banners. While artist Bakula Nayak engaged children in a nature-themed art camp, Aparna Raman, founder of a children’s publishing house, helped them write letters to the trees.
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The event took a glamourous turn when eight models dressed in eco-friendly clothes designed by stylist Prasad Bidapa sashayed across the complex. Even 105-year-old environmentalist Salumarada Thimmakka pledged her support by joining in.
While the current population of Bengaluru is 120 lakhs, the tree-to-human ratio is a daunting 1:10, and the demolition has been reported to affect 56 out of the 92 trees that the complex houses to make way for the new structure.
According to the Bangalore Mirror, Rajagopal told the crowd, “This festival is organised to oppose the lethargic attitude of the authorities towards environment and governance. We are here to celebrate the relevance of these trees to the city’s lung space. They indeed gave us life for all these years, so this must be the day to thank them. And this is also the day to say goodbye to them, because the authorities are very keen to axe green life on this campus.”
A few demands laid down by the green warriors are as follows:
– Designing the new structure without touching a single tree.
– Rationale of the Animal husbandry department behind a multi-storey, multi-speciality vet hospital when an existing set up at Hebbal is just 4 km away from Queens Road.
– Need for transparency in the master plan of the project vetted by an independent panel of architects/specialists.
– Avoid the relocation of NGO Sarvodaya-run Animal Birth Control centre to Jakkur and provisions for kennels and an extra ambulance for pick up.
Know more about Green Warriors here.