ESG Public Interest Litigation Efforts To Protect And Build Greenery In Urban And Rural Areas

An Appeal:

We fight many battles to protect greenery in urban and rural areas. They are long drawn and expensive battles. Your continuation matters immensely, as it helps save thousands of trees and promote plantation of thousands more appropriately. Please Donate generously so ESG can do more of such work.

Background:

Environment Support Group has been in the forefront of various efforts to save trees, and greenery in urban and rural landscapes. This is not an easy task when urban planning and development agencies, civic bodies, real estate and industrial sectors, infrastructure development agencies (eg. Metro and Road developers), land acquisition authorities, , etc., aren’t sensitive to conserving trees and green spaces.

When such agencies’ approach is found to be illegal, or unnecessarily involving the feeling of trees, in urban and rural areas, ESG has alerted wide publics and regulatory agencies to step in stop such felling. And when found necessary, we have initiated Public Interest Litigations as well.

In the process, ESG has tested the efficacy of existing laws, protecting trees and greenery. And when the law is found to be flawed, or deficient, ESG has drawn attention of various authorities. On their failure to act with necessary urgency, ESG has approached the Judiciary seeking directions to attend to the maladies. All this has resulted in pioneering efforts to build safeguards to protect greenery in urban and rural areas.

In this section you will find documentation of various PILs filed by ESG to protect greenery.

Regreening Bangalore and how:

On 6th January 2011, in an unprecedented development took place. Justice D. V. Shylendra Kumar, then Judge of the High Court of Karnataka, wrote a letter to the Court’s Registrar in which he expressed his pain at the proposed brutal destruction of Bangalore’s famed avenue trees. He stated: “This will be nothing short of an ecological and environmental disaster. Many such trees even as per the news item are more than hundred years old and I am not sure whether future generations will be able to see such trees at all as no tree may be allowed to grow hundred years in future.” Justice Kumar was responding to news reports on the proposed felling of 1,223 trees on avenues of Bangalore.

Alluding to the reason offered by Bangalore’s civic agency for felling trees, Justice Kumar stated: “Traffic congestion in Bangalore city is not due to narrowness of the roads, but because of the lack of proper planning on the part of the authorities.” And he went on to say: “It is also rumoured that there is a tree mafia in operation which is controlling the authorities of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and other public authorities for ensuring that well grown, matured and developed trees in Bangalore City are all chopped off and the timber is cornered by them for a song and is sold elsewhere, particularly, to such industries which are dependent on supply of time and wood products for their survival and existence.”

Justice Kumar’s letter was treated Suo Moto by the Karnataka High Court as a Public Interest Litigation (WP 8288/2011) to which was tagged ESG’s pending PIL (WP 7107/2008) challenging widening of roads as a solution to traffic congestion and the resultant felling of thousands of trees across Bangalore. ESG worked with the Amicus curiae appointed in WP 7288/2011 by the Principal Bench of the Karnataka High Court, and also the Chief Conservator of Forests designated to Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, and along with other civil society organisations, helped develop an unprecedented strategy for re-greening Bangalore through direct public participation in collaboration with Ward Committees and civic and forest agencies. This strategy was comprehensively accepted by the Karnataka High Court in the final order issued on 7th August 2014 in WP 7288/2011.

See the Suo Moto PIL, W.P. 7288/2011 here.

See the Interim Direction in WP 7288/2011 here.

See the Final Order dated 7th August 2014 in WP 7288/2011 here.

See submission by Chief Conservator of Forests, BBMP for re-greening Bangalore dated, 2/6/2014 here.

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