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Posted at: May 20, 2016, 2:33 AM; last updated: May 20, 2016, 4:03 PM (IST)

NGT: Won't allow trees to be axed in Punjab

NGT: Won't allow trees to be axed in Punjab
Workers cut a tree for widening the Bathinda-Barnala road. Tribune file photo

Vishav Bharti

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 19

Acted on two petitions alleging indiscriminate felling of trees in Punjab for widening roads and those standing along the canal banks, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) today ordered that not a single tree would be axed in the state without its permission.

Imposing the ban, it cited a report published in The Tribune earlier this month in this regard. The tribunal, headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, observed that no effort whatsoever was made to transplant the trees or to compensate for the loss to the green cover, particularly in case of Nawanshahr and Jalandhar districts.

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“We hereby restrain the State of Punjab, any project proponent, various authorities and government departments from felling and cutting any tree in the state without the specific permission of the tribunal,” the order read.

The NGT also ordered that the Punjab Government should place before it all facts regarding afforestation in the state in the past five years. "The information should be provided year-wise, district-wise and scheme-wise and the state must tell how many trees have been felled," the order said..

The NGT asked the government to produce the original records pertaining to permission for felling trees, particularly in respect of Nawanshahr and Jalandhar districts. It sdirected that a senior officer be present on the next date of hearing on July 8 and an affidavit be filed by the Principle Secretary of the department concerned.

The two applicants, Sangrur-based Dr Amandeep Aggarwal and the Peacock Environment & Wildlife Protection Society, told the tribunal that the government was cutting trees without permission of the authorities concerned.

In an earlier petition, Dr Aggarwal had sought compensatory green cover along the Zirakpur-Bathinda expressway for over 96,000 trees axed for making space for the ambitious project.

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