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Posted at: May 18, 2019, 7:36 AM; last updated: May 18, 2019, 7:36 AM (IST)

Greenery under threat in Karnal

Road construction, laying of paver blocks hinder root respiration process of trees

Parveen Arora

The preservation of trees in Karnal city is a major concern as several of them are facing degradation due to laying of paver blocks and concretisation. Besides, flexes and posters have been nailed into trees, while the authorities concerned have been mute spectators. 

Botany experts and environmentalists say it is a step towards killing well-grown trees. The construction of roads and laying of blocks around the roots of trees affect their respiration process, which further stops the growth of trees.

Besides, it also affects groundwater recharging during the rainy season as less water seeps down due to the non-availability of space around trees and results in stagnation of water on roads. Experts say nails forced into the tree trunks also affect their growth.

“Paver blocks and concrete around trees affect their root respiration process and the growth of roots as well. If the root growth is inhibited, the shoot system comprising trunk, leaves and branches becomes stunted,” says RC Saini, Associate Professor, Botany Department, Dyal Singh College, Karnal.

The nailing of posters on trunks should be prohibited, as it causes tissue injury to trees, he adds.

Ashima Gakhar, Head of Department of Botany, KVA DAV College for Women, Karnal, says development is necessary but saving trees and plants is also important.

“Lately, Karnal has received a face-lift with the construction of roads and by-lanes with paver blocks. Paver blocks are a cost-effective, low maintenance and aesthetically attractive solution being used worldwide, but being an environmentalist, I believe proper space should be left around young, growing trees for proper growth and aeration of their root system. We want development, but not at the cost of greenery,” she says. She says that the department concerned should ensure that paver blocks are laid under the supervision of an expert.

The problem is not confined to one or two places, but to the whole city. Be it Mall Road, Hansi road or Sectors 9, 13, 14, 7, 6, 5, 8, 4 and industrial area, the roots of trees have been covered completed either with concrete or with paver blocks, leaving no seepage space for water. Besides, flexes, posters and banners of various establishments have been nailed to most of the trees, causing severe damage to them, besides spoiling their beauty as well as of the surroundings.

Sandeep Nain, environmentalist and president of the Satya Foundation, says that non-monitoring of the work of roads and paver blocks has led to the situation, as paver blocks hinder aeration of trees and plants. The authorities should keep a vigil during such construction works.

Contractors are laying paver blocks and constructing roads wall to wall at some places in the city, leaving insufficient space around trees and hindering the supply of air and water to their roots.

Rajiv Mehta, Commissioner, Karnal Municipal Corporation (KMC), says that the Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) has constructed roads in sectors. Directions have been given to contractors to leave sufficient space around trees while laying paver blocks. 

He says that flexes, posters and banners on trees are prohibited by law. “I have instructed officials concerned to take action against the violators,” he adds. Vijender Kumar, District Forest Officer (DFO), says that he had informed the municipal corporation about flexes and boards nailed on various trees. “I also removed some flexes and nails,” he adds.

“We have strictly prohibited the covering of roots with paver blocks and concrete in the forestland on Mall Road and in other areas,” he says.

The DFO adds that when someone inserts a nail in a tree, its tissue uniformity gets disturbed or breaks down. The presence of many nails may cause structural and health problems enough to kill a tree.

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