Bengaluru: The Karnataka government's plan to widen the Kudur-Hulikal state highway 94 in Ramanagara district at the cost of 287 trees which Padmashri awardee Saalumarada Thimmakka had planted, has got a jolt, thanks to her plea.

The state government had identified 287 trees to be cut for road widening. This was met with opposition from environmentalists and Thimmakka herself. Thimmakka had said that if the project is not shelved, she will sit under the trees to protect them from the axe.

"The trees I have grown must not be axed. I don't permit the (Karnataka) government even to touch these trees," Thimmakka had told.

"I have taken an entire lifetime to grow these trees. But people are always ready with axe to cut them. If the road has to be widened, let them do it using the nearby land and let the trees be where they are. I will not allow even one branch of any tree to be cut. If they don't take this seriously, then I will sit under the tree to stage a protest," said Thimmakka.

Thimmakka had grown these trees in 1960s at a time when she did not have children. She considered these trees as her children and grew 8,000 trees including 400 banyan trees.  

The Public Works Department (PWD) had issued a notice regarding widening of road along with the survey number identified for the work in newspapers on June 1. Accordingly, 40 metres of land from the centre of the road was identified for road expansion. This will not only affect the trees planted by Thimmakka, but also a stretch of shops and buildings on the roadside.

After the news was published in the media, Thimmakka met the chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and submitted a memorandum in this regard.

She met Kumaraswamy at his official residence Krishna in Bengaluru and gave a memorandum to stop axing of the trees. After hearing Thimmakka's plea, Kumaraswamy directed the officials concerned to change the route of the road to be widened and directed them not to axe the trees.