The National Green Tribunal, Chennai, has directed the National Highways Authority of India to stick to their realignment in road expansion work at Madagadipet and to restore the French canal at its original position either during or after completion of road works, secretary of the Communist Party of India A. M Saleem said here on Friday.
Briefing reporters on the NGT order based on a petition filed by a CPI functionary against cutting of palm trees for road works, Mr. Saleem said the NGT’s direction to NHAI to stick to their realignment plan would help in saving around 550 palm trees on waterbodies at Madagadipet.
“The court has directed NHAI not to cut around 550 palm trees grown on tank bunds and also not to acquire additional land on the right side of the lake to shift the alignment. The authorities will also have to acquire additional land to maintain existing water spread area with respect to ponds at Madagadipet and Thiruvandarkoil. The NGT intervention has led to the conservation of the palm trees and waterbodies in the area,” Mr. Saleem said.
The party functionary, P. Prakash, a resident of Madagadipet, went to the NGT, after repeated pleas to the NHAI, PWD and the revenue authorities in the Union Territory failed to yield any results in saving the palm trees and the waterbodies. The government of the Union Territory should bring in a legislation to protect palm trees like in Tamil Nadu as such trees help in storing groundwater, he said.
He also announced the party’s decision to stage demonstrations in seven places to highlight the neglect shown by the Centre in allocating funds to the U.T. The Centre has completely neglected the region in providing additional funds as promised by the Prime Minister during the election campaign. The protest was also to highlight the apathy of territorial administration in re-opening the Public Distribution System outlets, he said.