THOOTHUKUDI: Over 1,000 trees have been marked to be cut along Tiruchendur-Tirunelveli state highway, running along the southern bank of the Thamirabarani river, for the expansion of the stretch for Chennai-Kanniyakumari Industrial Corridor Project (CKICP).
However, the road would be laid along the northern bank of the river Thamirabarani for a distance of 12.95 km to avoid cutting old trees, damaging archaeological sites and acquisition of residential areas, said a senior State Highways department official. The highways officials had begun chopping off the trees along the road for the expansion project. Over 100 trees near Tiruchendur and 50 trees near Seithunganallur have been cut so far.
The green activists have been protesting against the tree cutting along the Tiruchendur-Tirunelveli stretch. Naam Tamilar party cadre took the issue to the road at Ammanpuram and picketed vehicles to save the trees. NTK functionary Crystantine Rajasekar said that the stretch between Tiruchendur-Tirunelveli has a number of old trees of more than 100 years of age.
Many of the trees are the roosting place for several hundred bats. Cutting down the trees will cause environmental damage, he claimed. According to State Highways officials, a stretch of 50.59 kilometres from Tiruchendur to VM Chatram in Tirunelveli, is being widened on either side of the road.