Activists, retired BBMP official arrested on Sankey Road

A 63-year old former BBMP official M B Krishnamurthy, is one of over dozen people arrested so far at the Sankey Road protests. Krishnamurthy, a diabetic patient and self-confessed tree lover, spoke to Citizen Matters from Vyalikaval Police Station where he was detained along with green activists.

Ironically, Krishnamurthy is from the same BBMP engineering department that is currently felling the trees for roadwidening. 

Sankey Road tree felling ongoing on July 1st. Pic: Lakshmi Sharath.

For the past two days Malleswaram citizens have expressed fury against the BBMP for pushing forward with its roadwidening plan along a section of Sankey Road, for which 19 trees are being felled.

"I am a Sankey tank walker and do not want to see these trees felled. Making a signal free intersction here will be better then widening", argues Krishnmurthy. He had lived in the area for more than 30 years. "We have eaten the nerale hannu under the trees", he says, referring to the black colour fruits of the nerale trees.

Matters at Sankey Road came to a head on 1st July afternoon. After cutting off 4 trees in the early hours of the morning, BBMP officials pressed on with their agenda during the day. Protesters came back as expected and a head to head confrontation between them and state police ensued.

Noted environmenalist Suresh Heblikar, Lok Satta Party member and activist Dr Meenakshi Bharath, Vinay Srinivas of Hasiru Usiru are among those arrested today. Heblikar and the women arrested were taken to High Grounds police station, while the others including Krishnamurthy were kept at Vyalikaval Police Station.

Four trees we felled in the early hours of Friday morning by BBMP amidst strong police presence. Pic: Lakshmi Sharath.

Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha MP and ABIDE Convener Rajeev Chandrasekhar has severely criticised BBMP forcing into way on roadwidening.

"I am fundamentally opposed to road widening as it is not a permanent solution. It causes and disruption. It is nothing but an ad-hoc solution to the bad planning and lack of foresight and vision of the government". Chandrsekhar told Citizen Matters over email that roadwidening is acceptable only if this acceptable to the citizens. "Traffic situation cannot be solved..it can at best be managed", he points out.

5 Comments

  1. I was emotionally moved when I saw the 100+ old trees chopped in minutes. What pains me the most is a)callous attitude of the onlookers b)almost nil participation by the Bangalooreans to stop these atrocities inflicted on trees and humans ( I saw activists get dragged as if they are thugs). Definitely someone wants to siphon off some money under this road widening project. Why dont we understand that We are a silent specatators in the transformation of landscape from Greenery to Concrete Jungle with No Breathing Lung spaces and this is a recipe to get Asthama and other lung diseases, not to mention larger Carbon foot print and 50 degree temps in summer
    – Kamesh

    PS: I bunked my Office and took along my wife and my mother who is a heart patient. Happy I did my part

  2. I went there after the arrests. A few people(protestors) were sitting by the railing and holding banners and twigs; the police were amused & the tree cutting was ongoing.
    I’ve been following this issue for some time & I feel whether sankey road needs widening or not, the BBMP’s high handed attitude certainly needs to be slimmed down;it is not sustainable in the long run.

  3. What an utter and complete shame.

    Heblikar, Meenakshi Bharath, Vinay Srinivas, M B Krishnamurthy more power to your arm and voice. Without you Bangalore would lose every shred of green to the greed of our so called administrators.

  4. Amazing, we continue to call ourselves a decent, democratic society. It’s nothing but goonda-raj, masquerading as development.

  5. Update: The arrested individuals – Heblikar, Meenakshi Bharath, Vinay Srinivas, M B Krishnamurthy, and whole host of others were released a little while back, with police not pressing charges. Release coincides with the BBMP completing its tree cutting on Sankey Road.

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