Residents of Palam Vihar in Sector 23, staged a protest on Sunday, condemning the forest department’s decision to fell trees on a 500-metre stretch from Rezengla Chowk to Delhi-Bijwasan border for a road-widening project.
An order by the forest department, dated April 3, stated that the felling of trees would be carried out for a road-widening project for a cycle track, which is to be built from Rezengla Chowk to Delhi-Bijwasan border. The area falls under the green belt of Gurgaon Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA). The project is an attempt to decongest the 1.5-km stretch from Palam Vihar to Bijawasan connecting Gurugram with Delhi.
The permission to fell trees was granted by the divisional forest officer with the condition that at least ten times the total number of trees felled should be compensated for. It also included the planting saplings of ornamental urban plants on either side of the road. The order also read that the felling will be allowed only after the identification of new sites for plantation.
However, more than 50 protesting residents took to the streets against the order, saying that there was no requirement to expand the road as it was a single-lane road.
The residents gathered near Ansal Plaza mall and raised placards with the slogan, “Pedh na kato, gala na ghoto (Don’t cut trees, don’t suffocate us)” to express their objection to the felling of trees by the forest department.
The residents said that tree cover in the city has already been depleted due to road and infrastructure projects. Felling close to 1,500 trees would cause both air and sound pollution.
Narendra Sharma, president, Saksham Bharat Sangathan, which organised the protest, said, “There is no need to widen the road. It was two months back when the forest department told 25 trees would be cut and compensatory plantation would be carried out in the nearby areas. But almost 300-400 trees have been felled and the compensatory plantation work has not yet started.”
When contacted, D Hembram, chief forest conservator, said he was unaware of the issue, while the district forest officer Deepak Nanda did not respond to calls for comment.
First Published: May 20, 2019 06:28 IST