The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is planning to fell over 12,000 trees for widening the national highway 15 between Barmer and Jaisalmer to make room for the increasing traffic in the area.
The decision to cut down so many trees has not gone down well with environmentalists, who feel it will hamper the desert ecology. They also seem little amused about the assurance of the NHAI to undertake a compensatory reforestation under the project. Trees are not a one day wonder, they have said.
“It takes years for a forest to come up and in the meantime the environmental impact will only deepen,” said Dheeraj Sharma, an environmentalist.
Ruing the lack of proper planning, Sharma claimed that such a large-scale ‘deforestation’ could have been prevented if the authorities had planned better, keeping in mind the future needs, before laying the NH 15.
According to information, the NHAI will widen the NH-15 to about 300 kilometres, between Jaisalmer-Barmer-Sanchore (Jalore). For the project more than 12,000 trees will have to be axed, an assessment of the forest department assessment says.
Barmer district forest officer (DFO), Laxman Lal, while talking to HT said that according to their assessment a total number of 6,673 trees will be axed between Jaisalmer and Barmer; 2,318 trees will be felled in Jaisalmer and 4,455 in Barmer. Another 5,398 trees will be axed between Barmer to Sanchore, Lal said. The DFO He said that compensatory aforestation will take place against the number of trees axed under the project. According to him, the NHAI has allotted Rs13,49,08,008 for the compensatory reforestation. Lal said, “Widening of NH is compulsory to accommodate the increasing traffic.”
BSF eyes to ‘plant’ record with 1.35 lakh saplings
Jodhpur: The Border Security Force (BSF), on the occasion of its golden jubilee, is eyeing a world record by planting 1.35 lakh saplings on Wednesday.
BSF Rajasthan Frontier would plant 1.35 lakh saplings from Sriganganagar to Jaisalmer border within half-an-hour. The plantation drive would be carried out on the premises of school buildings and social organisations in cities, villages, towns in the border area, along with the checkposts.
The BSF, by planting saplings in such a large number, would break its own record in the Limca Book of Records. Last year, the BSF had set a record by planting 1,80,000 trees along India’s frontiers to which the Rajasthan Frontier contributed by planting 70,000 trees.
The Rajasthan Frontier, now, has to face the target of planting 1.35 lakh trees along its border regions, all by itself.
IG of BSF Rajasthan Frontier, BR Meghwal said that the plantation drive would be carried out on August 12 from 10 am to 10.30 am and added that extensive plantation would be done in frontier headquarters of Jodhpur, Ganganagar, Bikaner, Jaisalmer (East), Jaisalmer (south) sectors and in 14 border check posts of battalions.
“The BSF personnel would plant 1.35 lakh saplings in merely half an hour,” Meghwal added. Various domestic species of plants would be used under the drive, the IG said, adding that awareness generation programmes on environment would also be organised on this occasion. HTC