MoEF report indicts Haryana forest dept
The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has indicted the Haryana forest department for continuing to plant along the National Highway-73, Panchkula-Yamunanagar, despite being aware of the fact that the road would be widened and the forest land would be diverted for the project.chandigarh Updated: Nov 16, 2013 12:22 IST
The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has indicted the Haryana forest department for continuing to plant along the National Highway-73, Panchkula-Yamunanagar, despite being aware of the fact that the road would be widened and the forest land would be diverted for the project.
To widen the road, 57,000 plants would be felled. The site inspection report of widening the highway project of June this year, prepared by AK Goyal, additional principal chief conservator of forests of Chandigarh regional office of MoEF, said: “The ministry of surface transport and highways, government of India, had approved the proposal of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for 4/6 laning of this highway in 2007 and even the initial proposal by the NHAI was submitted to the Haryana forest department in June 2009. Knowing that the area along this highway will be required for diversion, the
Haryana forest department should have avoided planting along this road.”
The report adds that in Ambala and Yamunanagar forest divisions, along the NH-73, new plantations were carried out from 2008-09. In 2008-09, 43,728 plants were planted, while in 2009-10, 9,000 were planted. In 2011-12, the number was 4,250. In total, in Ambala forest division, 56,978 plants were planted and in Yamunanagar, 154 plants were planted in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
In both the divisions, the number of plants planted from 2008-09 onwards is 57,132. “…The expenditure incurred on planting of 57,000 plants, which will now be felled immaturely, could have been avoided,” said the report, which has been sent to the assistant inspector general of forests, MoEF, New Delhi.
“I am not aware of the report. We will look into it. We will reply to the findings being made at an appropriate level,” said CR Jotriwal, principal chief conservator of forests, Haryana.
The project of widening of NH-73 covers 104.77-km road that connects Panchkula, Barwala, Saha and Yamunanagar. The concession period of the project is about 21 years. As the project is on the design-build-finance-operate-transfer (DBFOT) model, it will have two toll plazas, one at Panchkula and the other at Yamunanagar. The four bypasses have been planned at Yamunanagar, Saha, Shahzadpur and Barwala.
To widen the highway, 176.84 hectares falling in three forest divisions — Yamunanagar, Ambala and Morni-Pinjore — will be diverted. A total of 53,587 tress and 1.07 lakh plants would be felled for the project.