Trees being chopped despite HC directive

Trees chopped off on Gandipet main road on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Arrangement

The Roads & Buildings department is going ahead with chopping of trees lining the Gandipet main road despite orders from the High Court to the contrary.

On Wednesday, at least two trees of Peltophorum variety have been axed from the road margins, as per eyewitnesses. Already, about 50 trees have been felled, sources say. This is despite a voluntary organisation’s proactive offer to translocate all the trees scheduled for felling to facilitate road widening.

Vata Foundation, an NGO, had approached the court seeking permission to relocate the trees marked for felling, and got a favourable order. But it is unable to proceed any further due to lack of approval from the department.

As per details available, R&B department had sought permission in August 2020 to fell a total of 286 trees on both sides of the road, for carrying out a project to widen the road from double lane to eight lanes.

The matter was referred to the district-level tree protection committee under the provisions of WALTA Act, and after inspection of the site, the committee permitted felling of 244 trees, and ordered translocation of 42.

Vata Foundation, engaged in voluntary translocation of trees, came forward to shift most of the trees marked for felling free of cost. With no response from the R&B department, they approached the High Court.

The court, while seeking a counter from the government, passed interim orders asking the R&B officials to consider the representation made by Vata Foundation and pass necessary orders within a week. Till such time, no trees are to be felled, the order said.

Close to eight months have passed since the order, but the trees are yet to be translocated.

“We conducted a joint inspection of the trees marked for felling on June 15, and I noticed that only 153 trees remained of the 244. About 30 to 40 trees were of Eucalyptus and Subabul species which we did not intend to save. Close to 50 trees which were to be saved had not been found on the ground. We submitted our requirements for translocating the remaining 153,” said Vata Foundation founder P. Uday Krishna.

The R&B department responded to Mr. Uday Krishna’s letter, giving permission to translocate the 42 trees which were to be translocated anyway as per the orders by the tree protection committee.

“Our aim was to save the trees marked for felling by the committee. Instead, the department is looking to save funds on trees marked for translocation, which they are mandated to save. I have written pointing out the same, but there has not been any reply so far. Instead, they are going ahead with their chopping project, because they don’t want to displease the contractor,” Mr.Uday Krishna alleged.

Attempts to reach the R&B officials concerned for their version had not yielded results till the time of going to press.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 8:39:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/trees-being-chopped-despite-hc-directive/article35589501.ece

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