Kochi Metro’s Kakkanad extension to cost city’s green cover dear

Wayside trees that were axed at Palarivattam for the Kochi Metro Rail project.   | Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT

The trunks and branches of decades-old trees, which provided shade to pedestrians, can be seen heaped on the roadside as the once tree-lined Palarivattom-Kaloor stretch in the city is being cleared of its green cover.

The second phase of expansion of the Kochi metro rail to Kakkanad will see a large number of shade trees being cut down in the city.

As many as 80 trees, most of them over four-decades-old, have been cut down between the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium and the Palarivattom flyover junction during the last few weeks. More trees would be cut down for the widening of the road and the construction of the metro track, according to officials of the social forestry wing of the Forest Department.

The tree committee of the department, the agency which considers the application for the cutting of trees located in public places, has cleared the request for 280 trees to be axed. Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) has engaged workers for the cutting of trees. Cochin Smart Mission Limited, the agency implementing the Smart City programme in the city, had secured permission for cutting down around 50 trees sometime ago, an official said.

It was mostly Gulmohars and rain trees that were cut down in the Palarivattom sector. Most of the axed trees had a girth of 100 cm. The trees must have been planted during the 1980s as part of some social forestry programme, said the official.

Those obtaining permission for cutting trees located in public places should sign a contract for planting ten times the number of trees that are axed, as part of the compensatory afforestation programme. Moreover, they should also ensure the protection and growth of the saplings for three years. KMRL had recently purchased 5,000 saplings from the social forestry wing. They had also undertaken the planting of saplings in some public areas and on the holding of a private educational institution in the district, he said.

However, the official admitted that there was no effective system to monitor the progress of the compensatory afforestation programme.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 3:16:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/kochi-metros-kakkanad-extension-to-cost-citys-green-cover-dear/article36572231.ece

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