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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Tree burning irritates residents

Shaheen P Parshad, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, February 12, 2013
First Published: 18:53 IST(12/2/2013) | Last Updated: 18:57 IST(12/2/2013)

Even as the tree huggers in the city are looking forward to planting new saplings before Basant this year, the burning of alistonia trees with the garbage on Race Course Road area saw many of them, led by Pollution Control Committee and environmental NGO Mission Aagaaz, emerging on the scene to not just assess the damage done, but also to help save environment by doing what they can to revive the burnt trees.

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The tree lovers said that besides Race Course Road, trees were being burnt in almost every area of the city by the indifferent workers of the Amritsar municipal corporation, whom they charged with burning the garbage right at the spot instead of lifting it from there.

The MC authorities said the matter had not been brought to their notice, but they would look into it.

Deepak Babbar, director, Mission Aagaaz, said he had spotted many trees in the area that had been ruthlessly burnt along with the garbage. "Our initial efforts are aimed at reviving these trees. If we are unable to do do, we intend to plant new ones in their place," he said.

He appealed to the public to remember that trees played an important role in the lives of human beings and they should abstain from felling trees and concentrate on planting new ones.

Prakash Singh Bhatti, president, Pollution Control Committee, said that earlier his NGO had carried out the work of reviving burnt trees and planting new ones at the Circular Road and intended to take their efforts to other areas of the city, including the Amritsar Medical College.

"The garbage is dumped quite near the trees. The MC workers burn it right at the spot, which burns the leaves of the trees and damages the whole plant," he said, adding that besides reviving the trees, his NGO was also working at removing debris and plastic wires from different localities, apart from levelling the uneven land and pruning the trees that were overgrown and were a threat to the moving traffic.

Mayor Bakshi Ram Arora said none of the environmental NGOs had approached him in this regard. "If not a written complaint, they should at least bring the matter to our notice through a phone call. We will reach the spot and take action," he said.

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