After residents protest, Noida will not cut trees for Biodiversity Park
Followings protests by residents and environment activists, the Noida authority on Monday said it has decided not to cut any tree, including eucalyptus, to make way for the 75-acre Biodiversity Park in Sector 91.
While some residents’ welfare organisations have demanded that eucalyptus trees be cut, other resident groups and the authority’s horticulture department have planned a plantation drive at the Park site Wednesday.
“Only 20 people with vested interests are against felling of eucalyptus trees. But we honour the sentiments of the public and have decided not to cut any tree, including eucalyptus. The authority does not want to inflict any damage to the flora and the fauna. The Biodiversity Park will not only become the biggest oxygen bank in the city but also a recreational spot. We want to develop it with the support of people,” Rajiv Tyagi, general manager, Noida authority, said.
As part of the plantation drive, the authority has planned to plant over 180 species of trees, 90 species of shrubs, grasses, and 20 species of bamboos and palms. “We aim to plant 4,500 trees, 99,000 shrubs, 1,000 climbers, 4.27 lakh ground covers and native grasses at the park,” Tyagi said.
The authority also said it will take action against those found cutting trees. “If anybody is caught cutting trees in the area, we will register FIRs against them,” Tyagi said.
However, the residents opposing cutting of trees said the Noida authority is destroying the forest area. “The authority is damaging the old forest area that gives shelter to the wildlife. Why have they cut neem trees? This area should have been a city forest as per Noida’s master plan. We demand that the authority concretise only five per cent of the total land. It is sad that some RWAs are supporting the authority,” environment activist Vikrant Tongad said.
The environmentalists are opposing the construction of food courts and other kinds of concretisation at the park, claiming it is causing damage to the existing biodiversity and that the natural habitat of several bird species and animals such as nilgai would be destroyed. “Moreover, they (the authority) are not removing eucalyptus trees in a phased manner. They are clearing the forest area and not replanting trees,” said Chhavi Methi, media coordinator for Chipko Delhi-NCR.
Members of federation of Noida residents’ welfare association (FONRWA) visited the site of the park on Monday, following which they decided to support the authority. “The Biodiversity Park will benefit the entire city. Eucalyptus absorbs water and affects groundwater levels. We are happy that the authority is planting traditional trees that will increase the green cover. We have asked the authority not to cut any tree except eucalyptus,” AN Dhawan, secretary of FONRWA, said.
PS Jain, president of the confederation of Delhi-NCR RWAs, said, “Eucalyptus trees start decaying within 15 years of being planted. The ones at the park were planted 30 years ago. So, they can be cut. Although, the authority should not cut any other tree. The authority should plant trees that grow faster.”