LUCKNOW: After drawing much criticism over the alleged proposal of the UP government to clean up the Gomti riverfront area of vegetation in order to make an open space for defence exhibits during the upcoming expo in February next year, the Army authorities have reportedly pitched in saying they will re-design their stalls and the layout will be done without removing the trees from the area.
As per highly-placed sources, a team of defence personnel had visited the site and decided to redo the layout of the stalls in such a manner that minimum relocation of vegetation, that too, only ornamental plants, would be required.
The Lucknow municipal authorities claimed that whatever the small number of ornamental plants would be relocated, the exercise would be shot both while taking the plants to the nursery of Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) and also while replanting them at riverfront after the event.
Earlier to save the plants from damage, LMC had come out with the relocation proposal wherein it had offered to remove the trees under the camera to its nursery and replant them after the event. The whole exercise was supposed to be videographed in order to maintain total transparency.
Contrary to the reports in a section of media that the state government is preparing to cut down 63,799 trees along the Gomti river for the Defence Expo, the entire riverfront area has just 750 trees, claimed the official sources.
The section, which was identified to be cleaned up by the Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL), has 4324 plants up for relocation. HAL is the nodal agency for conducting the expo in Lucknow.
The entire riverfront, however, comprises of vegetation including 4324 plants, 32441 decorative bushes and 27034 haze plants.
Besides, in and around the area, 10.81 acres of green grass exists. The whole riverfront has been developed by the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) for the irrigation department at a cost of Rs 59.06 lakh last year.
Taking it as the litmus test for LMC, Municipal Commissioner Indramani Tripathi had resolved to fulfil the endeavour of plants relocation professionally with minimum loss of vegetation.
“The river front’s area from Hanuman Setu to Nishatganj has been selected by the Army for preparing the base for its ‘tank ride’ at the four-day defence expo. In order to prepare this base area, the Army and HAL had asked the Lucknow Municipal Corporation for relocating small ornamental plants in this stretch of the riverfront which we will do before February,” said Tripathi.
As per the sources, last week the municipal commissioner had written a letter to LDA secretary MP Singh offering to relocate the plants to its nursery under the supervision of authorities if LDA had any difficulty in carrying out the task.
However, the LDA is believed to have asked municipal authorities first to produce a ‘no objection certificate’ (NoC) of the forest and the irrigation department before going ahead for relocation. LMC is the nodal agency for all events proposed on the Gomti riverfront at the Defence Expo.
However, forest officials differ on the issue saying replanting the vegetation won’t be easy in the current season. “There looms the fear of plants dying during relocation. In such a case, entire plantation and landscaping of the riverfront will have to be redone after the event,” said a senior forest official seeking anonymity.
Uttar Pradesh Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) is conducting the mega event. Lucknow is hosting the Defence Expo for the first time. It is scheduled from February 5 to 8 showcasing latest arms and ammunition available with the defence forces.