Hyderabad: On two separate occasions, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has denied permission to translocate trees, citing revenue loss. The reason has baffled many environmentalists. Vata Foundation had approached GHMC twice for translocating trees — once in 2015 and once during KPHB flyover construction. GHMC denied permission on both occasions.

After GHMC denied permission during the flyover incident, Vata Foundation knocked on Telangana High Court’s doors for help. During the hearing, the GHMC lawyer had said that the translocation of trees leads to revenue loss. The lawyer noted that the corporation losses revenue gained from selling the wood and the money paid by contractors who cut the trees.

Mr Uday Krishna Peddireddy, the founder of Vata Foundation, approached the High Court for the first time in 2015. He filed a PIL, seeking permission to translocate the trees. However, since the Court was on summer vacation, his PIL was stuck. By the time his PIL came up for hearing, only 70 out of the 120 trees were alive. While Uday Krishna asked permission to translocate all the remaining trees, the Court allowed translocation of only 45.

Uday knocked on HC doors again in 2017, as the corporation denied permission to translocate trees during the construction of KPHB flyover. He had to wait for the Court to take up his case after summer vacation. In the meantime, Uday managed to convince GHMC officials, as the project was in a standstill due to various other reasons. He was able to save around 100 trees.

To translocate trees, one has to take the permissions of the Director of Urban Bio-diversity Flyover. Uday says, “It is challenging to get permissions, as they mostly deny without reasons. Once, the GHMC prosecutor claimed that it would cause a revenue loss for GHMC and so they don’t want me to translocate them. If they are bothered about revenue loss, we can replace the money paid by contractors. Instead of cutting it, we will be protecting them.”

Under the banner of Vata Foundation, Uday has been translocating trees since 2015.

Aiswarya Sriram

Aiswarya Sriram is a budding multimedia journalist and is currently working for NewsMeter as a "Factcheck Freelancer". A graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, Aiswarya has earlier worked with The Logical Indian and has interned with Republic TV. Aiswarya, a Tamilian who was born and brought up in Mumbai, loves to do rural reporting. She has visited Byadgi Taluk of Karnataka, to write about the issues faced by chilli factory workers there, earlier in 2019. A craft enthusiast, Aiswarya also does quilling, painting and glass work. On her off-days, she loves to read crime-thrillers and watch anime. She primarily reports on civic issues, GHMC, human-interesting features, and fact-checking video stories.

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