Several citizens gathered at Hyderabad’s KBR Park on Sunday under the banner of ‘Hyderabad Rising’, to protest against the Telangana government’s Strategic Road Development Plan (SRDP).
The SRDP is part of the state’s plan to construct multi-layer flyovers over 20 junctions in the city to decongest traffic in the IT corridor, but at the cost of Hyderabad’s green cover.
One of the flyovers would require trees to be axed at KBR Park.
Citizens who had gathered raised slogans like ‘Save KBR’, ‘Axe the plan, not the trees’, and ‘Flyover ki Baingan, KBR ki Roshan’.
“There will be no benefit in constructing such flyovers. It will only worsen the situation. It is a growing city, and many people migrate here. The population will keep increasing, no matter how many flyovers are built. Instead, the state should encourage public transport,” activists said.
As soon as the SRDP was announced by the state, scores of Hyderabadis took to the streets in April last year, holding placards and rallying against losing trees in the KBR park.
In July last year, amid much controversy, the Telangana government accorded administrative approval for the project at a cost of Rs 2,631 crore.
The cost has since been revised to a whopping Rs 4,050 crore.
Following a PIL filed by environmentalist K Purshottam Reddy in the Hyderabad High Court, the court told the state that “cutting trees is no solution.”
The NGT too directed the Telangana government to maintain status quo around KBR park and also stayed its controversial government order (GO 19) issued on May 13, 2016 granting “permission to fell trees” citing “ease of doing business”.
Presently, the state is going ahead with its other construction works which were part of the SRDP.
However, it is translocating some trees instead of axing them for the project.
“We are roping in NGOs, which will suggest measures for the process. The trees that will be shifted will be decided on the basis of their age and a set of other parameters. Wherever we can do it, we will ensure the trees are trans-located instead of being chopped down,” GHMC Commissioner B Janardhan Reddy has assured.