Illegal cutting of trees goes unchecked

Decade-old trees cut at Urban Estate Phase II to pave way for commercial outlets

Illegal cutting of trees goes unchecked

The axed trees at Urban Estate Phase II. Tribune photo

Avneet Kaur

Jalandhar, October 20

While the city is already gasping for fresh air due to rising pollution levels, the felling of trees goes unchecked.

Local residents have blamed the horticulture wing of the Municipal Corporation for indiscriminate cutting of trees in the city, particularly at Urban Estate Phase II, to pave the way for the construction of commercial outlets.

The residents said a few days ago, a number of decade-old trees were chopped off by migrant workers at Urban Estate, Phase II, near the petrol pump. However, when they questioned the workers that with whose permission they are cutting down the trees, they arrogantly answered that they belong to some market association and do not require any permission to cut the trees.

Sukhjeet Singh, a local resident, while talking to The Tribune, alleged that due to vested interests of some staff members of different departments, trees were being cut arbitrarily in the absence of any strict action by the Municipal Corporation.

Instead of putting a ban on the axing of trees, the authorities concerned were rather busy promoting the exercise by giving permission for commercial outlets.

“Mindless destruction of trees, plants and shrubs going on in the city to make space for residential and commercial buildings has already played havoc with the ecosystem. “While the pollution level has already touched an alarming level due to stubble burning, the green cover which virtually serves as lungs of the city is being damaged with supervisory staff of the horticulture wing closing its eyes to the harsh reality”, he added.

Mandeep Singh, a social activist, said last year too in May and November, scores of peepal trees (ficus religiosa) were chopped off from this same at Urban Estate. “The commercial development at Urban Estate is on full speed, and I don’t feel if the Municipal Corporation has any record of the number of trees cut down”, he alleged.

He said though the government had undertaken a number of initiatives to save the environment and promote greenery, merely campaigns and asking people to plant more and more saplings would not save the environment. “What we need is proper planning and sapling plantation, besides saving the decade- old trees,” he added.

When contacted, Guran Dass, XEN, Horticulture, said the department had no information regarding the cutting of trees at Urban Estate. In the past too, we had taken action on the complaints of residents over the illegal cutting of trees. “We will investigate this matter as well,” he added.

‘Major threat to ecosystem’

Mindless destruction of trees, plants and shrubs going on in the city to make space for residential and commercial buildings has already played havoc with the ecosystem. While the pollution level has already touched an alarming level due to stubble burning, the green cover, which virtually serves as lungs of the city, is being damaged with supervisory staff of the horticulture wing closing its eyes to the harsh reality — A resident

The department has no information regarding the cutting of trees at Urban Estate. In the past too, we had taken action on the complaints of residents over the illegal cutting of trees. We will investigate this matter as well — Guran Dass, XEN, Horticulture

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