Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gujarat activists take up cudgels to save 5,000 trees

Gujarat activists take up cudgels to save 5,000 trees

Environmental activists and NGOs across the state are getting together to save close to 8,000 trees that will be chopped down for expansion of the Jetpur-Junagadh highway and Veraval-Somnath bypass.

4,865 trees of 57 different species of trees, some of them believed to be over 100 years old, will be sacrificed for the project. A proposal seeking permission from the forest department to cut trees in the protected forest areas close to the two highways has further raised the ire of environmentalists.

Dinesh Goswami of Prakruti Nature Club said that they are contacting various NGOs to build a consensus on the matter. "We will be writing to them. We are going to work unitedly on this issue," said Goswami. Another activist closely associated with the development said that if the government refuses to budge from its decision they may also file a PIL in the matter. "But that of course will be the last resort," said the activist.

Goswami said they have sent a mail to some 50 NGOs across the state about the issue. "We will also be giving a memorandum to the mamlatdaar and later to the district collector. The same will also be sent to various officials including principal secretary forest department," said Goswami.

The activists are urging the government to look at other options including tree transplantation. "They can also explore the option of acquiring the farm land close to the highway at a right price," said Goswami.

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