Tree Transplantation at IIMB

“If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down?  We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.”   

– Jack Handey 

With its rich canopy and abundant trees, Bangalore once, aptly, was the “garden city” of India. In environmentalist Zafar Futehally’s words, the city’s plethora of tall, leafy trees provided a ‘cool, floral tunnel’ to pedestrians and road users alike. But much of these ‘tunnels’ were ruptured as real estate became expensive and land owners were tempted with the lucre of the money. Developmental works over the years have led to the loss of the city’s green cover destroying its beauty.  With the population growing, much of the city’s trees had to face the axe with land falling prey to the urban sprawl. In the last 5 years, over 50,000 trees were felled for road widening alone, taking a massive toll on the verdant tree cover.

Over 150 trees along Bannerghatta Road would have met with the same fate with the sanctioning of Namma Metro’s Gottigere to Nagawara line. Luckily, they were given a fresh lease of life with the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) deciding to transplant these trees. And IIM Bangalore was chosen as the new home for many of these trees, the Shantiniketan Park in Arikere being the other destination.

The transplantation drive was conducted in mid-January. The BMRCL had identified a private agency which is an expert in transplantation. The expenditure for the transplantation was about Rs 10,750 per tree. The trees that were along the IIM B campus compound were transplanted inside the campus.

On a walk through the campus, one could see a line of young trees with their crowns and branches chopped off, wrapped in jute, reeking of fungicides and other chemicals. One could hardly call it a pleasant sight. The chemical treatment and the jute-wrapping, though, was to keep the trees alive through the ordeal. And now, two months after the transplantation, it is refreshing to see that they are alive, bearing the first few leaves. The trees do seem to have taken a liking to their new home.

With the care and nurture from the excellent horticultural team at IIM Bangalore, we can hope that these trees will thrive and survive. We also hope this initiative sets a precedent when the issue of giving up green cover for development arises and trees are not sacrificed at the altar of development.