Concreting the space around trees leaves no breathing space, putting the life of trees under threat. The guidelines of the ministry of urban development state that a minimum area of 1.25 x 1.25 metre around the trees should be left uncemented.(HT PHOTO)
Concreting the space around trees leaves no breathing space, putting the life of trees under threat. The guidelines of the ministry of urban development state that a minimum area of 1.25 x 1.25 metre around the trees should be left uncemented.(HT PHOTO)

Green cover at PU remains in chokehold of concrete

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Dar Ovais, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON OCT 16, 2019 12:07 AM IST

Despite the orders of the municipal corporation against concreting of pavements around trees, there are hundreds of trees at Panjab University (PU) that continue to remain choked by solid structures.

PU has claimed that it has increased its green cover around the campus, but concrete around the trees is a common site at the varsity. Currently, the base of hundreds of trees in both the campuses of PU has no breathing space owing to concrete.

The municipal corporation in its June 10 meeting had said that concreting the area around trees should be avoided and the urban green guidelines should be implemented.

WHAT ARE URBAN GREEN GUIDELINES

The urban green guidelines of the ministry of urban development state that there is a clear link between concreting of pavements around trees and felling of trees. These trees often suffer from severely restricted growing space and a lack of air and water under impermeable surfaces.

Concreting the space around trees leaves no breathing space, putting the life of trees under threat. Forest department also recommends that a space three times the girth of the tree should be left around it. Girth is a measurement of the distance around the trunk of a tree measured perpendicular to the axis of the trunk.

The guidelines also state that a minimum area of 1.25 x 1.25 metre around the trees should be left uncemented. Widening of roads up to the tree trunk is to be avoided as roots come under the asphalted roads and gradually die.

3,000 TREES UNDER THREAT

“There are more than 6,000 trees in both the campuses of the university and around 3,000 of them are under threat due to the concreting around them. Concreting has a serious impact on the life of the tree because the roots do not have enough room to spread and grow,” said assistant professor Vinod Kumar, who studies trees.

There are around 60 trees from admin block to hostel number five that are surrounded by concrete with less than one foot space left around them. Also, inside the stadium and other departments, trees have been left with less or no space around them.

Professor Kumar said, “Earlier this year, a committee was formed that decided to comply with the guidelines against the concreting around trees. But nothing has changed so far, even though we have written to the authorities many times.”

Paveela Bali, an environmentalist, said, “The MC had ordered the removal of concrete around the trees on June 11 and still some parts of the city including Panjab University have trees choking in concrete.”

In May this year, the work of concreting around palm trees adjoining the Gandhi Bhawan and the road leading to Arts Block-3 was stopped after a protest by the faculty members and students.

Registrar of Panjab University Karamjeet Singh said, “At many places, we have already removed the concrete and we are in a process to remove the concrete from around other trees around the campus. University is making all the efforts to save trees on campus.”

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