Industrial park near Mattewara Forest: NOCs sought for axing of 1,700 trees; Punjab govt draws flak
Yet another controversy has erupted involving the mega textile park being set up near the Mattewara Forest in Koom Kalan area, as the public works department (PWD) has sought a no-objection certificates (NOC) from the forest and drainage departments to cut 1,697 full-grown trees and nearly 6,000 plants for the construction of a 6-km long approach road near the banks of Sutlej River.
As per sources, the drainage department has issued the NOC, but the forest department has sought few clarifications.
The move has irked city-based environmentalists who are vociferously opposing the setting up the textile park. Members of the Public Action Committee (PAC) for Sutlej and Mattewara forest said that Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann had claimed during the Vidhan Sabha session held recently that not an inch of land in the forest will be acquired. But, the government has now initiated the process of obtaining the land and sought approval for cutting of trees and plants, they said.
As per the letter issued by the PWD, the government is acquiring 5.40 hectare (13.33 acres) of forest land for the construction of the approach road leading towards industrial park.
Adesh Gupta, executive engineer of PWD Ludhiana, confirmed the development and said that soon after receiving clearance from the forest department, the carpeting of the road will begin. On the other hand, divisional forest officer Harbhajan Singh said that the matter is being reviewed.
SAD announces support
The Shiromani Akali (Dal) on Monday announced its support for the July 10 protest announced by the Public Action Committee of 50 NGOs to demand the scrapping of the project to establish the textile park.
Former minister Maheshinder Singh Grewal said the SAD had decided to extend its support to the protest and appealed to all environment lovers to unite to thwart the AAP government’s decision to choke the “green lungs” of Ludhiana.
Asserting that AAP and chief minister Bhagwant Mann have betrayed the people of Ludhiana, Grewal said, “AAP leaders, including Mann, had been opposing this project when they were in the opposition. AAP was also in favour of scrapping the project prior to the assembly elections and had also accepted the green manifesto submitted to it on behalf of the Public Action Committee which had called for eco-tourism projects. However, the government has now taken a U-turn.”
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