60,000 trees gone but NHAI unfazed
More than a year has gone since the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) felled over 60,000 trees along the National Highway 46 for six-laning of the road, but it has failed to take up the restoration of the green cover till date. The lethargic attitude of the NHAI to take up the sapling plantation has left the district administration and forest department, which gave permission to cut down the trees for the project, red- faced.
Clearly stating the High Court order in writ petition number 7811/10 and also the GO Ms 704, issued on August 8, 2010, the forest department insisted that the Project Director of NHAI, Krishnagiri, should plant 10 saplings for every tree felled. “We had clearly communicated to the PD of NHAI in an official communication dated May 31, 2011, that they have to comply with the mandatory provision of 1:10 ratio of plantation as per the HC order. But the officials failed to adhere to the norms,” said an official.
“On June 13, 2012 in a meeting, the then Collector Ajay Yadav had instructed the NHAI officials to confirm their commitment of taking up plantation in phased manner in writing by June 15 this year,” an official at the Collectorate said and added,“The Collector had instructed that the PD of NHAI should select the locations for planting 60,000 trees in the first phase and show the locations to the District Forest Officers of Vellore and Tirupattur Divisions by June 23. For the remaining 5,40,090 trees, the NHAI was instructed to have a proposal and the required funds.”
“The NHAI officials are not keeping up their commitment in restoring the green cover,” the official added further.