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An unstoppable green death

The dead trees were found just off National Highway 8 near Manesar in the eco-fragile Aravali hills. A kilometre of land with green cover had been, in a matter of hours, turned into a brown scar, reports Sanjeev K Ahuja.

india Updated: May 19, 2009 23:47 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja

141 corpses.

The dead trees were found just off National Highway 8 near Manesar in the eco-fragile Aravali hills. A kilometre of land with green cover had been, in a matter of hours, turned into a brown scar.

This, despite the country's highest court having passed an order banning mining in the Aravali hills of Haryana.

Forest officials were tipped off about the rampant destruction by Haryali, a Non Governmental Organisation. The trees were dug up to make trenches for laying electricity lines.

The forest department confirmed no permission had been sought or granted to anyone to cut trees.

"Starting just off NH-8, a stretch of about one kilometre is devoid of Masket, Tortilis and Kheri trees," said Devender Rao, forest Range Officer. "We found concrete electricity poles and felled trees all over."

A high-tension electricity line is being laid in the area.

The driver of the earth-moving machine and other people hired by a private excavation company managed to flee the site along with the vehicle when officials raided the spot.

Haryali founder Vivek Kamboj said the excavation work was carried out indiscriminately.

"The passage required barely one metre-wide space, but the earthmoving machine uprooted trees for a passage of more than five metres with scant regard for greenery," he said.

Rao said his department was trying to locate the excavation company that would be prosecuted in Faridabad's special environment court.

Officials of the state-owned power distribution company Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) have disassociated themselves from the incident.

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