Thursday, April 26, 2012

Over 8,000 trees in protected area to be axed

Over 8,000 trees in protected area to be axed
The Indian Express

Apart from over 4,800 trees in non-protected area, more than 8,000 other trees in protected forest area will axed for the four-laning work on National Highway 8D.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has got the in-principle approval from Union Ministry of Forests and Environment for the project. "The Centre has given its in-principle approval for cutting of the trees in protected area," said H S Singh, Principal Chief Conservator of Fores (Social Forestry).

The local forest department has started the process to evaluate the amount

for compensatory forestation that the NHAI will have to bear.

The 125-km long four-lane highway to be constructed at an estimated cost of over Rs 830 crore will see felling of at least 8,000 trees on the 88-km stretch from Junagadh to Veraval, which a protected forest area, and 4,863 trees on two non-protected areas — from Jetpur to Junagadh and the Veraval-Somnath bypass.

This will be a blow to the ecology, as trees like pipal, vad and neem in the protected area form the support system for birds, domestic animals, insects and worms, said Singh. He ruled out the possibility that the project in anyway can affect the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary.

"We have tried to save as many trees as we can. By way of bypasses, some 4,000 trees have been saved. But the rest of it will have to be cut down for widening the road from two to four lanes," said NHAI Deputy General Manager R S Jhanwar.

The official added that considering the technical aspects, removing trees was the last option. "For safety and alignment of the road, there was no alternative," he added.

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