About 3,000 trees cut in Noida Sector 91 according to forest department report
Out of the 3,000 trees the Noida authority had given permission to cut, at least 2,994 trees were felled in Sector 91, where a biodiversity park is schedule to come upUpdated: Sep 10, 2018 04:09 IST
Out of the 3,000 trees the Noida authority had given permission to cut, at least 2,994 trees were felled in Sector 91, where a biodiversity park is schedule to come up, according to a report by the forest department. The report will be submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The department has counted six trees other than eucalyptus that were felled without permission, including one neem and five babool (gum) trees. Additionally, 62 trees of species other than eucalyptus have been marked in the area. These include neem and peepal trees.
Hearing a case against the biodiversity park, the NGT had, on August 24, directed the department to submit a report in the matter within a month listing details of the project.
The tribunal scheduled November 14 as the next date of hearing.
“We were working on counting the trees and recording any violation since we first received complaints from residents. We have also kept the illegally felled trees with us. The report is finalised now and will be submitted soon to the NGT,” P K Srivastava, divisional forest officer, said.
According to the report, there are 1,000 more eucalyptus trees in Sector 91. The authority had earlier sought permission for cutting 4,000 trees but the forest department had granted permission to limit the felling to 3,000.
“We have reserved permission for the felling of 1,000 trees for now till the matter is resolved. The permission for 3,000 trees had been given months ago,” Srivastava said.
He added that the penalty for illegal felling of trees can amount to a penalty of ₹5,000 to ₹1 lakh under the Tree Protection Act, 1976.
According to activists who have been protesting against the construction of the biodiversity park, the felling of 3,000 trees in the area is in violation of environmental laws and the cause of loss of natural habitat for several animal and bird species, including nilgai (blue bull). Residents contested that felling of trees to create the park will disturb the existing biodiversity, defeating the very purpose. In addition, the creation of an amphitheatre, food court and golf tracks will further disturb biodiversity of the area.
The appeal made to NGT added that a notification dated July 20, 2012, clearly stated that seven tree species, including neem, cannot be felled till December 31, 2020.
The Noida authority master plan of 2021 mentioned that the 75-acre area in Sector 91 will be a city forest. This was changed in the master plan of 2031 and the area was demarcated as a biodiversity park. Residents now want the initial plan of the city forest to continue, in view of increasing pollution levels in Noida and the need for more trees to improve air quality.