Nagpur: A public notice informing about felling of over 400 fully grown trees in different parts of the city has shocked environment activists. Among the major felling are 249 trees at the premises of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (Neeri) and 121 trees along the periphery of Futala lake for the construction of a retaining wall.
As part of the procedure, the garden department of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) recently issued a public notice in a Marathi daily, calling out objections from the general public. Infuriated by the proposed large-scale loss of green cover, environment activists raised strong objections against both, felling of trees and the haste in calling for objections despite the lockdown.
MahaMetro has sought permission to chop down 249 trees at Neeri to construct a parking area for Ajni Metro station. However, according to activists, alternate sites were not explored for the same which could save green cover.
Apart from this, the agency wants to construct a retaining wall along the periphery of Futala lake, opposite the viewing gallery. “Our intention is to protect the existing wall and the water body,” said officials. The wall is planned to start from the lake and go up till the botanical garden.
NMC officials added that the wall will prevent soil erosion which happens frequently as the road has a slope. They added that subabul and chichbilai trees will be cut and rest of the species will be saved. Activists countered that it was wrong to solve one environmental problem by giving rise to another one.
“Trees prevent soil erosion and here they are being cut. No matter what species they are, every tree is important,” they said, adding that why were the authorities not paying heed towards collapsing heritage wall or leaking of lake.
On Tuesday evening, activists Jaydeep Das, Shrikant Deshpande and Sandeep Pathe submitted a letter to Congress MLA Vikas Thakre, stating that they don’t support unnecessary felling of trees in the name of unsustainable development. “Secondly, the objections are sought in writing from citizens during lockdown. How can we be forced to come out of our homes?” the letter added.
NMC officials said that citizens can email objections to [email protected]
The public notice also mentioned other permissions taken for road construction near Gandhisagar Lake, construction of commercial complex at Kelibagh road and felling of trees at an individual residential property etc.
No of trees to be felled——- Who sought permission?———– Purpose
249 | Metro | Parking area at Neeri for Ajni Metro station
121 | Metro | Retaining wall along Futala Lake
15 | PVR Engineers and Contractors | New railway track between Itwari and Dighori railway stations
11 | NMC | Construction of commercial complex at Kelibagh Road
6 | Tehsil agriculture officer | Posing risk
5 | NMC | Trees coming in the way of cement road between Gandhisagar Lake and Gitanjali Talkies
2 | Vandana Raut | Obstructing compound wall
Mail objections to [email protected]