The forest department’s decision to allow felling of trees for road widening has upset green campaigners who say the department should have explored safe technology options instead.
Their concerns relate to the forest department’s recent decision allowing the road construction department to fell 193 trees to widen a four-kilometre stretch between Birsa Chowk and Rajendra Chowk.
Officials said about 50 trees had already been felled along the stretch. At least 500 more trees would be cut down in future road projects , they said.
National Environmentalists’ Association (Ranchi) secretary MP Sinha said the department could have made use of the easily available tree transfer technology in which grown-up trees were scientifically uprooted and replanted at the desired site. But, allowing tree felling was a wrong decision as growing new saplings to compensate for the loss could hardly be a healthy replacement---because saplings would take years to become trees and till the environment damage would have been done. Sinha said a heavy fuel combustion and rampant felling of trees had adversely affected the weather in Ranchi.
He said the weather conditions in Ranchi had been deteriorating since 2000. One of the major reasons for sweltering heat had been rampant felling of trees.
However, the road construction department and the forest department have their reasons to justify the cutting of trees.
They said unless the roads were widened, the increasing traffic density could not be accommodated in the city. They said for every tree is felled, the forest department had asked the road construction department to plant five new trees, in order to counter the environmental hazards.
“They will either give compensation and we will plant trees on their behalf or they will plant the trees on their own,” Ranchi district forest officer Rajiv Lochan Bakshi said.
Rajbala Verma, principal secretary road construction department Rajbala, however, did not respond to HT calls.