Notwithstanding the forest department’s order banning eucalyptus trees on government land, as many 160 trees are standing tall in Cubbon Park.
These trees neither bear fruit, nor provide shelter to birds. They are infamous for the amount of water they suck from the ground. However, no effort has been made to remove them from Cubbon Park.
“They will ruin the growth of other trees. I want the horticulture department officials to remove those trees without any further delay,’’ said S Umesh, president, Cubbon Park Walkers’ Association.
Echoing his opinion, Suresh Heblikar, a well-known environmentalist, said the authorities have to take measures to remove these trees from the root.
He suggested that the horticulture department should plant saplings of native origin, like Mahagani and Akash Mallige in Cubbon Park, after removing the eucalyptus trees.
However, AN Yellappa Reddy, an environmentalist and former Indian Forest Services officer, said the existence of a few eucalyptus trees would not have much impact on the groundwater table.
“These trees have been in Cubbon Park for many years. The horticulture department authorities have to take care not to damage other trees while cutting the eucalyptus trees. Planting of eucalyptus saplings was permitted those days, when the authorities used to import eucalyptus seeds from Brisbane,’’ said Yellappa Reddy.
Recently, horticulture department officials had to invite bidders for auctioning a eucalyptus tree that had fallen due to heavy rains. The process to remove the fallen tree invited criticism from the walkers’ association. Its president even alleged that it was the handiwork of the timber mafia.
Mahantesh Murugod, deputy director, (Cubbon Park), department of horticulture, had denied the role of any mafia in the process.
“Many people have told me about the ill-effects of eucalyptus trees. I can’t take a decision to remove these eucalyptus trees on my own. I will send this proposal to higher authorities for their approval shortly,” said Murugod.