It probably sounds like a plot from a movie – citizens come together in tens of thousands to fight for their city in a bid to save the environment, and win.
And that’s exactly what happened in Bengaluru: citizens have ensured that a total of 800 trees in the city are saved from being felled by the civic authorities.
How, you wonder?
It all started when the state government announced a Rs 1,791-crore project to build a steel flyover. Just the first phase of the project would have meant cutting down of 112 trees. The entire construction of the flyover would have resulted in the axing of 800 trees. But citizens were at hand to fight it the whole way.
Apart from voicing opposition on social media and through viral online petitions, people also took part in protests to ensure the government heard their voices. On October 2016, hundreds across the city formed a human chain to protest the initiative that stretched to several kilometres.
Additionally in February, when the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), issued a notice soliciting the opinions of residents about starting the project, thousands called the civic body to make it clear they were opposed to the project.
Most recently, a group of protesters on Valentine’s Day wrote love notes for every single one of the trees that were in danger of being cut down.
Needless to say, it worked. On March 2, 2017, the state announced that the project would be dropped permanently. Urban Development Minister KJ George was quoted by The New Minute as having said, “The project has been scrapped after consulting with the CM. We are cancelling the project because of the public opinion that they do not want it.”
Almost immediately hundreds took to their social media accounts to celebrate what they have deemed the “People’s victory.”
Bangalore citizens have WON. #SteelFlyover
— bHuVaN (@Bhuvan022) March 2, 2017
Congratulations to all who came together n stood for what is right. #SteelFlyover
— Ashish Pathak (@ca_ashishpathak) March 2, 2017
— Arvind Nanda (@timeforarvind) March 2, 2017
— Vikram Kulkarni (@matrixguy) March 2, 2017
— The BullRing (@BullRingArena) March 2, 2017
— Sandeep S (@FadetoBlack7900) March 2, 2017
— Garima Vyas (@kat__den) March 2, 2017
— Nandeesh G K (@Nandeesh1997) March 2, 2017