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Forest dept keeps neem tree cut from Noida’s Sector 91 as case property

Trucks were seen carrying away felled trees, prompting residents to complain to the forest department

noida Updated: Sep 04, 2018 03:55 IST
Snehil Sinha
Snehil Sinha
Hindustan Times, Noida
Forest department,Illegal tree felling,Neem tree
One neem and five babool trees had been illegally cut in Sector 91 by the forest department.(HT PHOTO)

The forest department on Monday took an illegally cut neem tree in Sector 91 into its possession as case property. The department had earlier filed a case in the National Green Tribunal against felling in this area last week under the Uttar Pradesh Tree Protection Act, 1976. The court had asked the forest department on August 31 to submit a report regarding the felling within a month.

After trucks were seen carrying away felled trees from Sector 91 on Monday, environment groups complained to the forest department that they suspected that more trees were being felled illegally. Residents, on Monday, also reported to the forest department that trees were being taken away from the area and that the matter should be examined.

The forest department later confirmed that one of the trees cut earlier was being taken to the Surajpur nursery as case property in the complaint registered about 10 days ago.

“Our staff picked up the neem tree as case property. It will be stored at the government nursery in Surajpur. One neem tree has been cut, while some branches of another neem tree were chopped,” PK Srivastava, divisional forest officer, said.

He added that the department is preparing a report on the number of trees that have been cut in Sector 91, based on the stumps available. However, the work has been delayed due to heavy rain in the past two days.

“The counting was halted temporarily due to the rain and holidays. We expect to ready the report this week,” Srivastava said.

Meanwhile, environment activists claimed that trucks carrying trees had been spotted a few days ago as well and alleged that the department could be trying to cover up unauthorised felling.

“We have seen such cases in the past as well, wherein trees are cut illegally and the cases are covered up. These trucks keep carrying trees out of Sector 91 and we expect the activity to stop now that there is a case going on,” Vikrant Tongad, an environment activist, said.

The Noida authority had sought permission to cut 3,000 eucalyptus trees in Sector 91, from the existing city forest, to convert it to a biodiversity park.

According to the authority’s plans, several biomes will be recreated in the park, replicating a flower petal.

Around one lakh trees will also be planted in the area, including over 5,000 native trees and around one lakh other shrubs, plants, and ornamental trees.

However, protests erupted once the felling of trees started. Residents and environment groups demanded that the area remain a city forest and not have concrete structures such as a food park and amphitheatre.

Residents also worried that large-scale cutting would adversely impact the existing biodiversity and the habitat of animals in the region.

First Published: Sep 04, 2018 03:55 IST