DEHRADUN: Over 10,000 trees may be felled for the expansion of the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun.
The Uttarakhand government has sought the National Wildlife Board’s approval to transfer 243 acres of forest land to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for expanding the airport.
The Board will meet on Monday to consider the expansion plan.
The current length of the runway at the Jolly Grant Airport is 2,140 m and it is proposed to be expanded to 2,765 m.
“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,” DJK Sharma, additional chief conservator of forests, said.
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.
“The felling of trees is likely to have a major impact over corridors in the forest area which will adversely affect the movement of wild animals, including elephants,” activist Shekhar Pathak said.
The airport is already getting upgraded by the AAI with a budget of around Rs 353 crore. In the first phase, a new state-ofthe- art terminal building will be completed by October 2021.
It will increase the capacity of the airport by eight-fold with an area of 42,776 square metres.
After the completion of phase one, the airport will have 36 check-in counters and four aerobridges along with other facilities like in-line baggage screening facility and self check-in kiosks.