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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Felling of trees Amid criticism, minister takes to tree plantation

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, July 14, 2014
First Published: 00:41 IST(14/7/2014) | Last Updated: 00:42 IST(14/7/2014)

In a bid to stem widespread criticism of tress being uprooted in different parts of the holy city, local bodies minister Anil Joshi on Sunday inaugurated a tree-plantation drive here to showcase his government’s commitment to keep the green cover of the city intact.

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Joshi planted a sapling in the Ranjit Avenue locality, just a day ahead of a protest scheduled to be led by his senior party colleague and BJP’s national vice-president Laxmi Kanta Chawla. She has announced to hold a protest outside Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) on Monday against the felling of trees along the GT road to make way for the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) project.

BJP MLA and chief parliamentary secretary (CPS), Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, has also expressed strong displeasure over cutting of trees in the city.

She has even demanded back the money that her husband and former MP Navjot Singh Sidhu contributed from his own pocket for planting of trees along the GT road and at various other places in the city, saying that rather than enhancing the tree cover, the district administration is indulging in mindless felling of trees.

In this backdrop, Joshi vowed that the government will “get many more trees planted than the ones that were cut”.

Without referring to the numerous environmental lovers who had on Friday held a protest while squatting on felled  trees on the Court Road, Joshi said, “If people are concerned about the problem, so is the government”.

To project the government’s concerns, he said that 20,000 saplings will be planted in the coming days as part of the tree-plantation drive in Ranjit Avenue, Mall Mandi, Kabir Park and New Amritsar. A sum of Rs. 40 lakh will be spent on this drive and thereafter it will be the duty of the Improvement trust to look after the saplings till these mature, he added.

“I call upon every resident to plant at least one tree at his home and look after it just as parents look after their children”, he said while addressing a gathering after inaugurating the plantation drive.

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