SP lawmaker targets UP govt over mango tree in the middle of national highway
A mango tree in the middle of a national highway in Uttar Pradesh has become the latest political weapon for opposition Samajwadi Party to question the Bharatiya Janata Party government’s claims of development in the state.
Shashank Yadav, Samajwadi Party’s member of legislative council, posted the photograph on Facebook on Tuesday, triggering a blame game between officials of the construction company and the forest department.
“Vikas paida hua magar NH24 par Maigalganj ke paas (There is development but on NH24 near Maigalganj),” the caption of the photograph read.
Yadav, who is from Lakhimpur Kheri the largest district in Uttar Pradesh, said he posted the photo to highlight the negligence of the construction company’s officials as well as local representatives.
“While passing by the national highway, I was surprised to find a huge mango tree right in the middle of the road. This is a serious threat to people travelling during the night,” he said while speaking to the Hindustan Times.
“All MPs and MLAs of the region belong to the ruling party but none of them came to know about it. This indicates lack of coordination between the authorities concerned,” he added.
Officials of Era Infra Engineering Ltd, the company assigned to construct the 157km-long stretch between Sitapur and Bareilly on NH 24, blamed the forest department for not allowing them to remove the tree.
“The project was assigned to us in 2010-11. We sent letters to forest department seeking permission to remove the trees coming in the way of the proposed highway,” Era’s project in-charge Arun Chaudhary said.
“We did not receive any permission or reply from the authorities concerned. Due to this, 22% of the project is still pending. We have neither completed the work there nor permitted traffic on the route as yet,” Chaudhary added.
He said the portion of the road, which had the mango tree, fell under the jurisdiction of Hardoi administration.
District forest officer (South Kheri) Sameer Verma, however, said he has not received any letter from the construction company seeking permission to cut trees.
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