Published: 15th November 2019
How the residents of Nallagandla are standing together to protect their trees
On Sunday, November 17, 8 am, the organically formed Nallagandla Trees Voluntary Body is going to come together to form a human chain to sensitise people about the issue
On November 8, contractors felled 99 trees along the Nallagandla-Tellapur road. Outraged by this act, a resident of the locality Suresh Natha sprang into action. And so did another group which included film director Tejasvi Dantuluri. United by their purpose, the two groups merged, calling themselves Nallagandla Trees Voluntary Body and they will be gathering tomorrow at 8 am to form a human chain to sensitise the local residents about the issue. And just like trees, they are going to stand tall in solidarity with the trees which were cut and for the trees which remain standing. The group wants to ensure that the remaining ones keep standing as well.
During the protest | (Pic: Tejasvi Dantuluri)
How it all began
Tejasvi states how the contractors were issued by the Roads & Buildings Department Government Of Telangana and they were given permission by the Forest Department, who in turn were given the green signal by Tree Protection Committee. "But the documents that the contractors procured on-site had expired on December 4, 2018 and though they said they had applied for an extension, they continued to cut the trees anyway," she explained. While the GHMC preferred to distance themselves, it was the Forest Department who not just visited the site, but also assured the volunteers that the felling of trees will be immediately suspended. Not just this, they also promised to issue a fine to the culprits.
But who are the culprits? And why weren't the citizens consulted before the felling of the trees started? These are the questions that the team is trying to find answers to. "There are some groups who, at the surface-level, think that road widening (which was the reason given for felling) is an easy way to tackle the traffic problem. But what we are saying is that let's educate ourselves, let's find alternate solutions. Some might think we are obstructing development, but what we are really trying to do is find a balance," Tejasvi asserts.
Protesting the felling of trees | (Pic: Tejasvi Dantuluri)
Support from all sides
Citizen movements like Save Banyans of Chevella come to mind when we hear about this incident and Tejasvi informs that indeed, these groups have helped them out. So has co-founder of Hyderabad Rising Kaajal Maheshwari. She guided them about how to go about the process of finding the culprit.
The movement is gathering tremendous support on social media and the group hopes that the human chain being conducted on Sunday too will help them achieve their aim to sensitise more and more people about the issue.