M A I N   N E W S

452 trees face axe for multiplex, hotel
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 1
The holy city which is witnessing a fast-depleting green cover will be a mute spectator to the felling of 452 trees, including many old ones, for the construction of a multi-storeyed hotel and a world-class multiplex.

The 32-acre land of old Dr Vidya Sagar Mental Hospital is proposed to be auctioned through PUDA for the purpose. The state government plans to auction the land, permitting two 22 and 16- storeyed hotels.

The government expects to fetch over Rs 900 crore from this auction, which it claims to spend on the overall development of the ancient city.

Even as Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has announced to set up a tree authority that will devise a policy to make up for the loss of trees cut for constructing various infrastructural projects in the Capital, no such proposal has come forward from the Punjab government.

This is a land where history of many centuries is attached. Here lakhs of patients got cured and received love and solace from renowned saint doctor Vidya Sagar, who used to share food with his patients in one plate. This is probably the last piece of vacant land left in the holy city.

Banyan, neem, peepal, kikker, ber, amaltas, shisham and tahli trees would be felled for the ambitious project of the state government. Some of these trees are said to be more than 200 years old. Many old people are seen sitting under the shade of these trees and meditating, especially in summers.

Meanwhile, the pollution in Tung Dhab Drain is a matter of great concern and UN officials inspected the drain and asked the DC to get it cleaned. Pakistan has even taken up the pollution caused by Amritsarís Tung Dhab Canal to the United Nations. A report of the PGI, Chandigarh, has given startling information about water-borne diseases due to pollution through this drain, which falls in Pakistanís territory.

The water supply to this ambitious project is again a matter of concern. The water level in Amritsar is already very low due to over-exploitation. Power shortage here is a big problem and for every mega project, obtaining electricity availability certificate should be compulsory.



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