Regardless of the claims of the district administration of undertaking a tree plantation drive to restore the depleting green cover of the city, indiscriminate felling of trees continues to take place to facilitate various developmental projects. A recent case in point is the felling of six fully-grown ‘Sheesham Trees’ in the district courts complex on Tuesday. These trees were reportedly hewed to raise a building for a police station.
Sources stated that more than 4000 trees, both big and small have been felled in the past three to four years to pave way for a jungle of concrete, while many more are likely to bite the dust to pave way for proposed commercial and residential buildings at different places in the city.
Exasperated at the arbitrary felling of trees, Mission Aagaaz, an NGO that deals with environmental concerns, has written to the Deputy Commissioner to initiate swift and effective action to save the tree cover of Amritsar. In the letter to the DC, Gurbhej Singh Sandhu, General Secretary, Mission Aagaaz, apprised him of a proposal to hew trees the District Courts and Canal Colony in the future.
“Contrary to the tall claims of the Government, tree plantation and protection of fully grown trees is being taken flippantly. Notwithstanding the debt we owe to trees, their emotive power, and their importance to other forms of life, the forested area is steadily being depleted. This is leading to the degradation of the environment and the extinction of many species. There is now a real danger that in the not very distant future man will destroy a large proportion of the present population of species on earth, create an uninhabitable environment, and then die out himself,” he said.
Deepak Babbar, a member of this NGO, said that since their evolution, trees have had a great influence on the shaping of the ecology of the planet and in determining the present arrangements of life on earth. “Such trees that have been instrumental in providing fresh air to us and our ancestors need to be saved,” he said. He added that some saplings planted by the NGO on the outskirts of the city had failed to thrive due to the negligence of the authorities concerned in taking care of them.
Meanwhile, DC Rajat Aggarwal, said that he had not yet received any correspondence from Mission Aagaaz. He, however, said that he shall loom into the matter and see if the people, who felled the trees, had necessary permission and had fulfilled all formalities to do so. “As per my knowledge, they had fulfilled all formalities, but still I shall look into the matter,” he said.