Amid the record high temperature that Hyderabad is facing this summer, news broke out that the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation ( GHMC)  is planning to chop down 3100 trees across city to widen the roads and lay the flyovers. We, feel that not only is this unfair but also unjust to the already aggravating climate change in the city.

On 14th of April the Deccan Chronical newspaper read out loud and clear - “Hyderabad sizzles at 43ºC on Wednesday, the highest temperature recorded in April in 43 years.” Instead of planning to plant more trees across city and saving the existing ones, GHMC is ready to implement the “Strategic Road Development Plan (SRDP)”. This is how the plan will roll out according to report published Times of India - “According to the proposal, 743 trees would be cut at KBR Park, including 143 trees along the park's outer walkway. Another 484 trees will need to be axed at Maharaja Agrasen junction, 119 at Basava Tarakam Cancer Hospital junction, 174 at Filmnagar junction, 129 at Road No 45, Jubilee Hills junction and, 91 trees at Jubilee Hills checkpost.”

One such place where maximum number of trees will be cut down is the KBR Park. Located in the centre of the city, the park is spread at about 390 acres. Undoubtedly, the park is one of the favourite places for nature lovers and fitness freaks. Hundreds of people visit park each day to find peace from otherwise crowded concrete jungle. As the news spread of chopping trees around park, nature lovers, held a protest on 1st of May to show opposition to GHMC plans.

People from all walks of lives, from young to old gathered outside the main gate of the park. Holding a variety of colourful banners and placards and guarded with our passionate sloganeering, we made our opinion heard loud and clear that development will not happen at the cost of environment.  

One elderly person, present at the demonstration, was of the view that trees in the park act as a carbon sink for the city. Infact the display board at the main gate of the park mentions it as “Green lungs of the city”. Chandra an Entrepreneur, who was also a part of the protest says” Climate change is the biggest problem we are facing. Development initiatives should also consider the trees and environment.”

I believe that development has become a synonym for environmental destruction and honestly, it only scares me when I think about the future of not just this city but also of this country. Each element of nature be it be air, forest, mountains and rivers are at threat at a never before rate and at which cost? In the name of human development?  

Yet, the struggle to save 3100 trees is on and concerned people are invited to join the movement. As our slogan goes, “ No trees, No future, Save KBR”!

Ali Abbas is an Activist Coordinator with Greenpeace India.