In Noida, chipko movement to prevent felling of trees

Over 100 people, including children, displayed posters, hugged trees, shouted slogans and formed a human chain demanding that the trees not be cut.

noida Updated: Aug 26, 2018 03:59 IST
Snehil Sinha
Snehil Sinha
Hindustan Times, Noida

To protest felling of around 3,000 trees in Noida’s Sector 91, residents and environment activists gathered at Noida’s Sector 91 on Saturday evening to start their own variant of the “chipko movement”.

Over 100 people, including children, hugged trees, displayed posters, shouted slogans and formed a human chain and demanded that the trees are not cut. Their plea: to maintain the area as a city forest without any concretised patch as in the case of an amphitheatre or food park.

Protestors said they have three clear-cut demands from the authorities: to ensure removal of only the sanctioned number of trees, that too only eucalyptus and no other species, to ensure the area remains a city forest and is not converted into a park with concrete structures, and to do the cutting in a phased manner so that more trees could be planted simultaneously so that the habitat of animals and birds is not harmed.

“We want that the existing city forest to be maintained as it is. Felling of trees is never a solution as we have seen in the recent case in Delhi as well. The authorities should think of alternatives to maintain forest cover,” Jeevesh Gupta, from Chipko Delhi-NCR, said.

Residents from housing societies around Sector 91, including from Omaxe Grand, Omaxe Forest Spa, Jaypee Pavillion, ATS Village and Home 121, participated in the protest.

Harish Madan, a resident of Omaxe Grand, said, “We have been approaching the authority for the last six months but they kept saying that the trees will not be cut and that they were only making a small access road. Now, suddenly, so many trees have been axed.”

The forest department, meanwhile, said they have stopped felling trees temporarily and are waiting to mark all trees that are not eucalyptus.

Divisional forest officer PK Srivastava said, “The felling of neem trees on Friday was a mistake. We have stopped cutting trees for now. We have also issued instructions to mark all trees we do not have the permission to cut. This is being done to ensure such a mistake is not repeated.” He added that a joint team of the forest department and the Noida authority will mark out all other species of trees, so that it is ensured that these trees are not cut.

First Published: Aug 26, 2018 03:59 IST