In a major setback to the green drive in Ghaziabad, hundreds of trees on a major stretch behind the Mahamaya Stadium have dried up due to sewage overflow from a nearby drain.
The 31.5-acre plot behind the stadium is a part of Sai Upvan, which has been identified as the city forest area under Master Plan 2021. The patch was full of trees in 2008, but tree cover was gradually lost due to an overflowing non-cemented drain that flows right through the area and carries untreated sewage into river Hindon.
A small patch behind the stadium has some full-grown trees, though they now stand at least two feet of drainage.
“The trees that are left standing now only have a trunk left. The civic agencies have neglected the area for several years and did nothing to preserve the trees. The entire area has lost the green cover now. These agencies are undertaking massive plantation for government projects, but have failed to save the city’s existing trees,” said Akash Vashistha, an environment activist.
Activists had earlier moved the Allahabad high court over the issue of saving the area’s tree cover. The court, in its interim direction in October 2012, had directed the cementing of the overflowing drain and construction of a sewage treatment plant to stop any untreated sewage flowing into Hindon. However, non-compliance with these directions has resulted in further damage to trees.
“The municipal corporation is yet to comply with the high court directions. We will move a contempt petition in the court and also move a petition with the National Green Tribunal. We already have satellite imaging of the area that shows a major depletion in the tree cover since 2008,” said councillor Rajendra Tyagi, one of the petitioners.
On their part, the Ghaziabad municipal corporation’s officials said the entire area has suffered due to the ongoing construction of NH 24 to NH 58 Link Road and could not be restored.
“We have also prepared estimates for cementing the overflowing drain and other issues and sent it to the state administration for clearance. We are yet to get the sanction,” said RK Yadav, executive engineer from the corporation’s water works department.
Apart from the damage to tree behind the stadium, the corporation’s sewer jetting machines are also discharging the collected sewerage into the green belt patch behind the Hindon canal police post in Vasundhara.
During a visit, an HT team found the sewer jetting machines pumping the sewerage into the green belt behind the police post.
“We will get the issues checked at the earliest,” Yadav said.