Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 20
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday stayed the uprooting of trees coming in the way of the construction of Tribune flyover. The order by Chief Justice Ravi Shankar Jha and Justice Rajiv Sharma came on a petition filed by the Run Club against the UT Administration.
Describing as “startling” the Chandigarh Administration’s decision to cut down the trees on either side of the road leading to Tribune Chowk on Dakshin and Purv Marg, petitioner’s counsel Puneet Bali had contended that irreparable harm would be caused to the environment due to indiscriminate felling.
Submitting that the decision was “highly questionable”, Bali had added the mature mango and other trees were planted in accordance with the “Chandigarh Project Plan” in a planned and thoughtful manner several decades ago.
Emphasising on the utility of the trees, Bali had asserted these were not only helping in increasing the city’s green cover, but also in checking pollution caused by heavy traffic on the Dakshin Marg and from the surrounding industrial area. Felling of these trees would cause irreparable harm to the environment as apparently there was no way of replacing and replanting the trees at other locations.
“Development activities usually do have environmental costs, however, this sort of imminent felling of old and mature trees at such a large scale is highly questionable,” Bali had added.
Challenge was also mounted to the move on the ground that it was in violation of the traffic and transportation proposals envisaged in the Chandigarh Master Plan-2031, wherein only an underpass was proposed at Tribune Chowk on Dakshin Marg.
“It is ironical that the Chandigarh Master Plan-2031 was prepared and published with much fanfare by the Chandigarh Administration and the same is being violated now,” Bali submitted, adding that a number of urban communities were moving away from the concept of constructing flyovers to mitigate traffic problems.
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