Petition on by Nature Lovers of Hyderabad

As per newspaper reports, around 9,300 trees on the road between Moinabad and Manneguda on the Hyderabad-Chevella-Bijapur highway have been marked for the axe in a road-widening project by the National Highway Authority of India. Of those a 1000 are stately old banyans. Help us protect these gorgeous trees, especially the old and mature banyans and other trees that are known to have poor records of survival even if translocated.

Our trees are our heritage, let’s protect them! Every old tree is a veritable living universe, and collectively these have developed into unique habitats – home to myriad birds and creatures, big and small. Of all the trees we have in India, banyans are probably the most iconic in this respect. Irreplaceable in that they take decades to grow and centuries to mature; wondrous in the way their canopies interlock above the roads; stately and magnificent natural wonders unto themselves. If these gentle giants die, they take with them entire ecosystems, histories, and an important part of Hyderabad’s heritage. Cutting them would be murder most foul.

Climate change concerns: According to Global Forest Watch, India has lost more than 1,20,000 hectares of primary forests in the last 5 years alone. In all probability, we have also lost an equal amount of green cover to road-widening projects and related infrastructure development.

What is the green cover Telangana has lost in the last 5 years? How many old trees – mangoes, neem, jamun and banyans – have been axed to widen the roads around Hyderabad? No one seems to know or care! But everyone can see that the rampant tree-felling has drastically changed the climate for the worse, exponentially driven up air pollution levels, and changed temperatures so that day (and even night) summer heat is now close to infernal.

Let’s do something! 
DON’T be a mute spectator as these voiceless, magnificent, life-giving giants are murdered. Join us in demanding that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, and the NHAI should:

1. Replan the project to save, in toto, the best stretches with large, mature banyans. The trees can be retained as medians with road expansions carried out on either side. Where not feasible, the trees on one side can be retained and the road widened on the other.

2. Totally bypass the areas where the banyans are most well grown and at their most mature. Translocation is not an option for large, mature trees because of poor chances of survival, as observed during earlier attempts.

3. Reinstate all the earlier non-exempted trees species, which includes all species except Eucalyptus species, Subabul (Leucaena leucocephala) and Prosopis juliflora under the TS WALTA Act.

We have already lost many such grand old trees that majestically lined our roads. To mention just two recent road-widening efforts, the roads from Chegunta to Medak, and from Aler to Warangal, lost more than 2000 banyans, peepals, rain trees and other grand old tree species that were chopped down without a thought.

Come, sign this petition and join us in the fight to put a stop to this mindless slaughter of stately old trees for road widening. Our beautiful old trees desperately need your help!

Sign the petition here.