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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Sep 2014

Rupnagar-Doraha four-laning: Over 14,000 trees to face the axe in district

Harshraj Singh, Hindustan Times  Neelon, January 30, 2013
First Published: 22:22 IST(30/1/2013) | Last Updated: 23:50 IST(30/1/2013)

Clearing out green cover on the Doraha-Neelon-Rupnagar stretch seems to be the government's only way to improve traffic conditions on the road. The picturesque stretch is fast losing its rich cover to enable the work of road widening.

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Experts, however, say no road safety audit was done before embarking on the clearance.

In Ludhiana district only, 14,266 trees of various varieties, including mango, jamun, safeda, will be axed, with an aim to providing better traffic service to the people by making Ropar- Doraha four lane.

Divisional Forest Officer at Ludhiana Daljeet Singh said the trees were being cut to widen the road.

Punjab State Road Safety Council vice-chairman Kanwaljit Soi said the road cannot be constructed without cutting trees, but the road safety audit was necessary and it was not been done.

Experts too think that the road safety audit should be done before making the road.

Soi said, "The speed of vehicles go up on four-lane roads and canal is just alongside which can be dangerous for human lives. Use of all road-safety gadgets must be ensured and the road should be constructed keeping in mind the danger to human lives."

Keeping in mind the present flow of traffic on this road, its widening could be avoided, he added.

NGO Ashirwad director Neelam Sodhi said, "It was a one of the major green belts in Punjab. We should not sacrifice the natural green cover for progress or advancement. The government should find out alternative way instead of cutting the trees."

The villagers had earlier also raised their voice against the trees which would be axed.

Gurmit Singh of Neelon said, "We have been sentimentally attached to the land and trees for over 50 years."
Ludhiana forest department superintendent Sanjogeta Devi said 14,266 trees would be axed in Ludhiana district for widening Doraha to Ropar road.

She said trees would be axed on 44.67 hectare. The department would plant saplings on 89.43 hectare in various areas, including Kasabad, Jassowal drain, Bathinda branch and Sirhind canal area in Doraha range, Mand Jodhari and in Samrala.

Devi said 1,000 saplings were planted in one-hectare area, but these plantations would be done next year.

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