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No land left for plantation, tough task ahead for Gzb forest dept

The forest department has set a target of planting 1.05 lakh saplings in 2018-19. However, it land available for just 40,000 trees

noida Updated: Feb 13, 2018 23:16 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Ghaziabad plantation drive,forest cover,GT Road
The NH-24 widening from UP-Gate to Dasna has already resulted in the felling of 22,649 trees and shrubs, officials said.(HT Photo)

The district forest department is now finding it hard to find land for carrying out plantation drives in Ghaziabad. The officials said the reserved forest area, spread across 651 hectares, is saturated and finding land to achieve its annual plantation target is becoming tough.

“The forest department has set a target of planting 1.05 lakh saplings in 2018-19. However, we have land for just 40,000 trees. Of the 40,000, 20,000 are to be planted in the space where old trees were felled, while another 20,000 are to be planted in small open patches. For carrying out the remaining plantation, we don’t have land,” BP Singh, district forest officer, said.

The ever-expanding infrastructure development is also responsible for the depletion of forest areas. Ghaziabad has some major projects such as the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, Eastern Peripheral Expressway, the Metro expansion and the proposed rapid transit system coming up within its jurisdiction.

“The greenfield expressway from Dasna to Meerut has taken away 14 hectares of reserved forest in Chudiyala as it was coming in the way of the road alignment. With no land available in Ghaziabad, the compensatory afforestation (for the DME project) will take place on 30 hectares in Jalaun district. This is more than 400km from Ghaziabad,” Singh said.

The reserved forest areas are declared by the central government, following a procedure of public hearing and survey under the provisions of Indian Forest Act. Any non-forest activities in these areas is strictly prohibited, except with the permission of the central government and the land ownership lies with the forest department.

The majority of reserved forest areas are located in Ghaziabad — at Amhed Nagar Baghpat, Mohammed Ahmed Baghpat, Atrauli Khurd, Chudiyala, Farid Nagar and Talheta.

According to the forest officials, the rapid transit system will need the felling of nearly 2,900 trees while the proposed dedicated freight corridor will result in the cutting of 3,539 trees.

Likewise, the NH-24 widening from UP-Gate to Dasna has already resulted in the felling of 22,649 trees and shrubs, officials said.

They said smaller projects such as the Vasundhara flyover, Hindon elevated road, widening of Raj Nagar Extension crossing, etc., will also lead to the felling of nearly 800 trees.

The other category of protected forests are located along the GT Road, NH-24, State Highway-57, upper Ganga canal, upper Yamuna canal and Hindon cut canal. The officials said the trees from protected forest reserves have also been felled to make way for infrastructure projects.

First Published: Feb 13, 2018 23:16 IST