Haryana govt cuts trees along Gurgaon-Faridabad road for ‘beautification’
Experts said at a time the region stares at desertification, chopping of trees is a matter of concerngurgaon Updated: Oct 08, 2017 23:13 IST
The forest department is busy cutting down trees along the Gurgaon-Faridabad, to plant saplings of flowering species instead.
The initiative is part of a state government plan to beautify the district and state boundaries. Under this plan, the forest department is removing trees along both sides of the highway on Gurgaon-Faridabad stretch after the Bandhwari waste treatment plant.
“The plan is to remove the Mesquite (Vilayati kikar) bushes and plant saplings of native trees and flowering species to beautify the 10-km stretch,” said RK Bhatia, divisional forest officer, Faridabad.
However,environmentalists said that, at a time when the region is inching towards desertification and losing green cover, chopping down trees is not a good sign.
“The forest department can plant as many trees it wants to plant, but it should not chop down trees along the road side. The land from Bandhwari plant towards Faridabad chowk is not government land. It is all privatized land which comes under Forest Conservation Act,” Chetan Agarwal, environment analyst, said.
Another activist, Vivek Kamboj, said “Mesquite is a legitimate forestry species that is critical to the fuel wood security of the region and has played an important role in restoring the forest cover of the Aravallis. Felling of this species without a proper plan for Aravalli hills will create a groundwater crisis.”
Vilayati kikar is not an indigenous or a native tree of Aravalli Ridge, but it has adapted well in the region and has become a dominant species, as it needs less water for survival and it does not need much care.
The small, evergreen, spiny tree, which has the capacity to survive in harsh environment, was introduced to the Ridge in the early 1870s by British in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
Though, the government has a plan to replace the Vilayati kikar with other species, however, it should not be done in forest areas, said experts.
“The process of planting indigenous species should be done on a patch of land on experiment basis. Right now, we know that the region is losing green cover and also the survival rate of the saplings are less so chopping of exciting tree should not be allowed,” said Jitender Bhadana, an activist.