GUWAHATI: City residents staged a protest on Sunday against the state government’s move to fell trees for the construction of a bridge over the Brahmaputra, reminiscing last month’s public outcry in Mumbai’s Aarey on the same issue.
Around 300 people staged the protest on the bank of the mighty river at Machkhowa area by forming a human chain as part of “Save Tree and Riverfront” campaign.
The residents are enraged that over 200 trees will be felled, most of which stand tall at the Sankardev Park. The approach road to the proposed bridge will pass through the park that faces the river.
Earlier, a citizens’ forum had submitted a memorandum to Minister for Public Works Department, Himanta Biswa Sarma, expressing their concerns. However, the government is apparently in no mood to shelve the plan.
“Some trees at the Sankardev Park that will be felled are over 100-year-old and they are rare. The trees are also home to various bird species. If they are felled, where will the birds go?” a senior citizen, who participated in the protest, asked.
He continued: “In the whole of west Guwahati, there is just one park which is the Sankardev Udyan. If this is destroyed, where will senior citizens like me go? We want development but it should not be at the cost of nature”.
The protestors fear the trees would be brought down at the end of ongoing Pushkar Mela. The Mela, concluding on November 12, is being held at the site of proposed bridge. The protestors said the government should have taken the opinions of the public before preparing the detailed project report of the proposed bridge.