ACCUSING CIVIC officials of reneging on promises the district (City) Congress has decided to launch a Chipko (hug the trees) movement to save over 5,000 trees to be felled for road-widening projects.
A total of 5,221 trees, including fully grown peepal, banyan, tamarind, neem, palash and amaltas specimens, are to be felled for the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) and roadbuilding projects carried out under the Bond Road scheme.
The City Congress announced that workers would hug the trees to prevent them from being felled. Colourful banners bearing the legend “Chipko” have already been strung on trees located at the Bond Road sites to protest the move.
“When the Congress and environmental activists protested the felling Municipal Commissioner Vinod Sharma assured us that only trees that could not be relocated would be axed. He even promised to set up a committee to probe which trees could safely be shifted. But now he has given the green signal for axing the trees even though the committee is yet to be formed”, charged City Congress president Pramod Tandan.
Declaring that the Congress would do its utmost to prevent the trees form being axed Tandan pointed out that the indiscriminate felling of trees would denude the City of already scarce green cover.
“Instead of mowing the trees down, the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) should shift them to another site”, he demanded. When contacted Municipal Commissioner Vinod Sharma, said it wasn’t financially viable to relocate all the trees. “It costs Rs 5,000 to shift one tree and we just don’t have the funds needed to relocate all the trees”, he pointed out. Sharma, however, added that a certain number of trees “selected on the basis of age and harvest” would definitely be spared the axe.
“As for the rest we are charging Rs 1,000 for each felled tree from executing agencies and these would go towards compensatory afforestation”, he added.
It may be recalled that 3,152 trees are to be felled to pave the way for the construction of a six-lane track on AB Road as part of the Rs 865 crore Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) being funded by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Another 2,458 trees are to felled for Bond Road projects at Maharana Pratap Statue - Phuti Kothi Road (856 trees), Ramchandra Nagar - Mahesh Guard Line (1,217 trees), Mahesh Guard Line – Sanver Road (127 trees), and Rajkumar Bridge – Industry House (258 trees).
The IMC Removal department on Sunday tore off and seized nearly 50 Chipko banners affixed to trees located on the Mahesh Guard Line stretch of VIP Road by the City Congress.