Hundreds of trees including some two centuries-old forest trees, lining the Koothattukulam-Changanassery road stretch are being axed for widening the thoroughfare. It is estimated that nearly 2,000 trees will have to be cut down for widening the road.
Those trees that have been marked for axing include some traditional mango tree varieties besides medicinal ones such as Asokam, Chuvanna Mantharam, Nelli, Neermaruthu, Ungu, Mazhamaram and Maruthu, according to green activists.
While the Ernakulam District Tree Authority, which has to consider applications for cutting trees in public places, had cleared 400 trees to be cut down, two members of the Kottayam district committee have demanded revisiting its decision to axe another 400 trees in the district. Cutting of trees have started in the Ernakulam reach of the road. This includes the nearly 100 forest trees, which have survived there for over 200 years, said C.M. Joy, a member of the Ernakulam Committee.
The road needs to be widened considering the heavy traffic along the route with sharp curves.
In a letter to the Assistant Conservator of Forest (Social Forestry), Kottayam, the Authority members K. Binu and Dr. B. Sreekumar pointed out that the decision was taken in a meeting in their absence.
While pointing out the environmental impact of the decision, the members demanded that the cutting permission should be suspended.