DEHRADUN: Over 10,000 trees may be felled if the National Wildlife Board (NWB) approves the expansion of Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun.
The Uttarakhand government has sought the NWB's approval to transfer 243 acres of forest land to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for expanding the airport.
DJK Sharma, the additional chief conservator of forests, said, "The area to which the airport is proposed to be expanded comes within a 10 km radius of the Rajaji National Park Eco-Sensitive Zone. This is why permission from the wildlife board is required."
The current length of the runway at Jolly Grant Airport is 2,140 metres and it is proposed to be expanded to 2,765 meters with the construction of an additional 625 metres stretch for the runway.
Activists, environmentalists are apprehensive that the move to cut the trees in the Thano range of the Dehradun forest division could affect wildlife movement in the elephant corridors.
Shekhar Pathak, a Padam awardee activist said, "The felkingbof trees is likely to have major impact over corridors in the first area which will adversely affect the movement of wild animals including elephants."
Meanwhile, the airport is already getting upgraded by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) with budget of around Rs 353 crore.
In the first phase which will be completed till October 2021, a new domestic terminal state-of-the-art building along with car park,
rainwater harvesting structures, sewage treatment plant, utility block, and other ancillary structures are coming up.
The new terminal building will expand the capacity of the airport by eight-fold with an area of 42,776 square metres.