Over 1,000 trees in Thirumangalam-Vadugapatti section to be axed by NHAI?

Speaking to TNIE, Teddy Trust Trustee Francis Amanda Murphy said the benefits of trees are immeasurable.
Image used for representational purpose
Image used for representational purpose

MADURAI:  Environmental enthusiasts expressed grief over the National Highways Authority of India's (NHAI) alleged plans of felling more than a thousand trees as a part of the road extension work between the Thirumangalam and Vadugapatti areas.

According to sources, the NHAI has planned to carry out the road extension work between the 36-km-long stretch between Thirumangalam and Vadugapatti at an estimated cost of Rs 570 crore, which is expected to be completed by February 2025. "Prior to the extension works, NHAI has started clearing both sides of the road by cutting trees, which has left environmental enthusiasts concerned over felling a large number of huge trees," sources said, adding that so far over 50 huge trees have been felled in the Aalampatti area in Thirumangalam.

Speaking to TNIE, Teddy Trust Trustee Francis Amanda Murphy said the benefits of trees are immeasurable. "They play an important role in the creation of a good environment and are the supplier of pure oxygen. All these trees are more than ten years old. Now, they are planning to cut the entire trees. Instead of cutting the trees, they could transplant the trees. Teddy Trust is ready to accept all trees so that they can be transplanted and grown on our campus," she said.

Thiagarajar College of Arts and Science Department of Zoology Head and Associate Professor N Arun Nagendran, explaining the adverse effects of cutting a large number of trees, said they are the breeding and feeding ground for many other living creatures. Axing over 1,000 trees will be a loss of biodiversity and will have an adverse impact on the environment in many aspects, he said.

"The Thirumangalam-Vadugapatti stretch is a drought-prone area, due to which the evaporation from water bodies in the area is higher, indirectly affecting the aquatic life, agriculture, temperature, and other factors contributing to climate change. If air pollution increases, it may create respiratory issues in humans and animals. It may not be an immediate and the sole problem, but a sequential problem," he added.

Responding to the issue, an official from NHAI said as per order NHAI will definitely plant over 10,000 trees to compensate for the loss.

Speaking to TNIE, District Green Committee Convener and District Forest Officer Gurusamy Dabbala, commenting on the condition of planting over 10,000 trees, said the green committee has given permission to the NHAI for cutting trees. "Most of the trees along the proposed stretch are more than 20 years old, so it is difficult to transplant them from one place to another," he added.

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