Hamirpur, September 30
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will axe over 12,000 trees to construct a 17-km two-lane highway in the district. It has deposited Rs 5.26 crore with the Forest Department as the cost of trees and started felling them to pave the two-lane section of the Matour-Shimla highway between Cheel-Bahal and Kohli village.
Once the two-lane highway is completed, the distance between Cheel-Bahal and Kohli will reduce by 7 km, from about 24 km to 17 km. Besides, the highway will have good riding quality and lesser curves. This section of the highway is part of the Shimla-Matour four-lane highway that Union Minister for Highways Nitin Gadkari had announced during a visit here in 2016. Initially, a four-lane highway was proposed but later it was decided to construct two lanes on some stretches.
Meanwhile, the construction company handling the project has roped in many sub-contractors to execute the work fast. It has been learnt that there will be three big bridges on the 17-km highway, besides some small culverts.
The NHAI has paid the cost of trees to the Forest Department but the Forest Corporation will auction the wood extracted from felling them while the NHAI will get the revenue thus generated.
Rakesh Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer, says that the Forest Department has received Rs 5.26 crore from the NHAI towards the cost of trees to be axed for the construction of the four-lane highway. He adds that over 12,000 trees of various varieties will be axed for the construction of the highway. The major species of trees in the area include Khair, Safeda, Cheel, Tuni, Sheesham etc.
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