Irony on World Environment Day: U.P. Forest Corporation to auction 400 green trees in Lucknow on June 5 - Hindustan Times
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Irony on World Environment Day: U.P. Forest Corporation to auction 400 green trees in Lucknow on June 5

By, Lucknow
Jun 04, 2024 08:20 AM IST

Environmental organisations and activists have strongly condemned the decision, highlighting the irony of such an act on a day meant to celebrate and protect the environment. They have accused the authorities of failing to seek alternative solutions to tree-felling.

Amid concern and outrage among environmentalists and citizens, the state capital is set to suffer a green blow, ironically on the World Environment Day (June 5), when 400 green trees will be auctioned, paving the way for them to eventually be felled as they are supposedly creating an obstruction in the path of development.

Trees at UPSRTC regional workshop at Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow. (HT Photo)
Trees at UPSRTC regional workshop at Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow. (HT Photo)

These trees are between five and 80 years old, an official said.

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The activists argue that the loss of these trees will worsen the already severe heat stress in the affected areas.

The U.P. Forest Corporation published an advertisement dated May 28, stating its intent to auction 308 trees obstructing the construction work of building and sheds at Ashok Leyland, formerly the Scooters India Limited complex, located in the Sarojini Nagar industrial area, as received by the Lucknow sales division of the forest corporation.

Another 92 green trees obstructing construction work on the premises of the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) regional workshop at Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow will also be auctioned. The auction for both the areas will be done at 11am on June 5 on Kursi Road, Lucknow.

Buyers can purchase these standing trees by attending the auction. Rest of the terms and conditions will remain the same, the advertisement read.

Davinder Singh, divisional sales manager, U.P. Forest Corporation, said, “We have sought a no objection certificate from the U.P. forest department last month.” When asked why these green trees can’t be relocated instead of felling them, Singh said this option was explored but it did not work out.

The 400 trees that will be auctioned are: peepal, neem, sheesham, babool, banyan, eucalyptus, bauhinia variegate (kachnar), jamun, albizia lebbeck (shirisha tree), golden shower (Amaltas tree), ficus racemosa (gular), madina and chilbil.

Environmentalists and concerned citizens of Lucknow have questioned why the U.P. forest department and the U.P. Forest Corporation have paved the way to eventually fell so many trees despite soaring temperatures and a heatwave that has already claimed several lives this summer.

Environmental organisations and activists have strongly condemned the decision, highlighting the irony of such an act on a day meant to celebrate and protect the environment. They have accused the authorities of failing to seek alternative solutions to tree-felling.

A coalition of environmental groups met on Monday to address the issue and urged the forest department officials to immediately reconsider the eventual felling of these trees. Their plea underscores the critical role trees play in combating climate change, reducing urban heat, and supporting biodiversity.

“This decision is not just a blow to our environment but a direct threat to public health. This regressive step should be reviewed and needs to be overturned by the governemnt,” said Ravindra singh Bishnoi, chief of Bishnoi Paryavaran Samiti.

Trees provide essential shade and cooling, particularly in the urban areas where heatwave is becoming increasingly common and deadly due to climate change.

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