×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

NH authority, forest dept at odds over tree cutting

Crossroads
Last Updated : 28 January 2013, 17:38 IST
Last Updated : 28 January 2013, 17:38 IST

Follow Us :

Comments

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the State Forest Department are at loggerheads over plans to cut down trees so that the Bijapur-Gulbarga-Humnabad National Highway 218 can be widened.

Contradicting the NHAI’s claims that the loss of several trees will not adversely affect the environment, the State Forest Department said that cutting down the trees will have a disastrous impact on the flora and fauna of the region.

In an affidavit filed before the Karnataka High Court, the Forest department has, suo motu, converted a Deccan Herald report as a public interest litigation over reported plans by the NHAI to cut 35,000 well-grown trees along the 223 km-long highway, so that it can be widened.

The then chief justice of Karnataka High Court Justice Vikramajit Sen (now elevated to Supreme Court) had taken suo motu cognisance of the Deccan Herald report, dated August 20, 2012, and had issued an interim order not to cut any tree till further orders.

According to the Forest Department, the felling of over 35,000 trees will have serious repercussions in all three districts where the cutting is due to take place. It will cause an ecological imbalance in the environment, affecting moisture conservation. It will result in the erosion of soil, weaken soil fertility and causing the ground water table to reduce. The loss of trees will also cause temperatures to rise and force changes on climate. The forest department said that food sources for birds, such as fruits and nuts will be affected and that the loss of trees will ultimately affect rainfall.

The Forest Department said the NHAI has not submitted a report, detailing the type of trees to be put to the axe. The NHAI, however, has submitted a revised proposal for the diversion of forest land to an extent of 0.88 ha as against 1.88 ha as submitted in its original plan. The proposal has been submitted to the Principal Conservator of Forests, Bangalore, for consideration.

The NHAI maintains in its affidavit that since the trees marked for felling in the project area are scattered along the roadside, and that cutting them down will not have a negative impact on environment. “The clearing of scattered trees along the 223-km roadside is unlikely to cause any adverse effects on rainfall and temperatures,” the NHAI said.

The NHAI, however, has reduced the number of trees it was planning to cut, down to 23,143, in its affidavit submitted to the High Court. The Highways Authority has also stated its intention to plant double the number of trees felled.

ADVERTISEMENT
Published 28 January 2013, 17:38 IST

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT