Sunday, 31 May 2009

Chopping Trees to Develop

It had to happen one day - the rampant cutting of trees around the city has finally hit my backyard, front yard, my threshold - 120 trees around the CNR Rao circle at the main gate, IISc, are slated for the axe. Its inevitable, we must proceed with the times. We must develop. We must progress. Even if this means we hurt, kick, scream and vehemently oppose such progress.

The larger common good,
as defined by a few,
will be rammed
down our throat,
will make us choke,
suffocate, die,
even as we defy,
and question,
what is this good?
which clears space,
where trees stood?

Bangalore traffic doubles every five years, and our ever changing governance is ever ready to demolish slums, axe trees, destroy heritage and replace it with wider roads, mazes of underpass, overpass, roundabouts, all to keep up with growing traffic needs. It is ready to lie, define, our life, happiness and success, by counting the cars that are on the roads, and squeezing even more.

But, what about people? What about people not in cars? Are roads about transporting people, or clearing spaces for cars - to move, to park? What fraction of Bangalore drives cars? And should our progress only cater to this set? Do they realise, that in their names, the government charges ahead, ready for progress, armed with axe and coffers -ready to be filled. For, lets not pretend, it is neither the well being of its citizens nor longer term development of this city drives these projects.It is corruption, and its infiltration deep into the very pores of our governance, the filthy game of power and greed that propels the development agenda.

And are there no alternatives, except to drive, widen roads, sacrifice air, breath? Our public transportation is abysmal, our walkways erased, no cycle paths, no green space, to linger, meet, wander. We are converting this city into a giant, grey, parasitic colony of consumers and consumables - and IT IS FOR OUR GOOD??? Thank you, but NO, thank you. We oppose, vocally, vociferously, loudly, clearly. We will not stand by and let this be done. We exercise our democratic right to fight progress which will not benefit us - we oppose, fight, because we dare not do otherwise.

You can most meaningfully join our voice by adding your signature here.

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