Close on the heels of felling of trees at Durgiana Temple, more are likely to be axed to pave way for the flyover that is coming up at Kitchlew Chowk. The proposal has angered environment-lovers in the city, who have urged the district administration to intervene to ensure that the route of the over-bridge is slightly modified to save the trees.
Ironically, the NGOs are divided over the issue as some have demanded that the route of the over-bridge be changed by a few feet to prevent felling of trees, while others citing technological reasons have urged the administration to ensure that the damage to the trees is made minimal by felling those that must be felled in view of the possible threat to the weight-bearing pillars by the trees near them.
Deepak Babbar, director, Mission Aagaaz, an NGO dedicated to environmental causes, said a change in the route of the bridge was mandatory to prevent the trees from being felled. "The administration can at least prevent the old trees as peepul from being felled. Why we have had poor monsoon this year could be attributed to the fact that hardly any of these trees are left," he said.
PS Bhatti, president, Missionaries Khudai Khidmatgaran, and Pollution Control Committee, who is unhappy over the fate of the old trees near the Durgiana Complex, said that by felling the trees after a 'pashchatap yag', the Durgiana Committee had opened up a way for wilful felling of trees.
"Jagdish Chander Bose, an eminent scientist, had proved that trees have life. Felling trees is almost like destroying a life," he said. He added that he had raised the issue of a change in the route of the flyover before its foundations were laid, but claimed that he did not get much support.
"The issue should have been pursued vociferously then as at that time the foundations of the bridge had not been laid and changes could have been introduced. However, now the structure has foundations as deep as 100 feet and its pillars have also been constructed. Hence, the design and the route cannot be changed," said Bhatti.
"In this situation, one or two trees will have to be felled. I suggest that only those trees whose roots are near the foundations of weight-bearing pillars be felled to minimise the damage to the city's forest cover. There is no need to fell all trees," Bhatti said. None of the authorities concerned were available for comment.