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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Tree-cover fades as concrete takes over

HT Live Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, February 24, 2013
First Published: 19:18 IST(24/2/2013) | Last Updated: 19:27 IST(24/2/2013)

Upcoming infrastructural projects might have catapulted the city in the league of metros, but have led to serious environmental degradation.

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Construction of roads in the city and its adjoining areas has contributed to diminishing greenery. The Ludhiana-Chandigarh road and the Ludhiana- Ferozepur road have witnessed maximum felling of trees for construction and widening.

On the other hand, many environmentalists and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are working with the common aim of making the city clean and green.

These NGOs have been successful to a large extent in making residents conscious of conserving the environment. They have been working through sapling plantation campaigns and organising debates and seminars in schools and colleges to sensitise children about the dangers of playing with the ecological balance.

The divisional forest department, apart from people, provides them with active help. "Schemes like 'Hariyali Punjab' launched by the state government motivates NGOs to work to save the environment, but red-tapism forces us to rethink before undertaking any task," said Jagjit Singh, who runs the Watawaran Sambhal Society, an NGO.

"Authorities do provide saplings, but these should be mature saplings (five to six years old), as they take less time to grow into trees," said Subhash Sondhi, an active member of Jeev Jantu Pareyavaran Sambhal Sewa Samiti.

"Though development is the need of the hour, but reforestation should go hand in hand," he added.

"There are several NGOs that we try best to help. Institutional plantations are done free of cost," said the divisional forest officer (DFO), Daljit Singh.

These NGOs have self-maintained nurseries to meet the need for plants. According to them reforestation is also needed to save bird species, like sparrows and eagles, that are on the verge of extinction.

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