Save Mattewara Forest �
Save Mattewara Forest �
Mattewara - a disaster in making:
In Covid times, that began last year in March and April, followed consistent lockdown and slowdown in all activities. However, the Punjab Government took a hasty decision in the Cabinet without any discussion to go ahead with development of 950 Acre Industrial Park, in the vicinity of Mattewara Forest reserve and the Sutlej river banks, near the flood prone Dhusi Embankment. The Government acquired the land from the Panchayats of the villages of Sekhowal, Machhia’n and few adjoining villages through a memorandum passed unilaterally by Local Government. About 450 Acre land was in permanent possession of poor farmers and they were tilling it since Independence, after migrating from erstwhile greater Punjab, now part of Pakistan.
The local villagers fought a long drawn litigation battle in Supreme Court to finally get a verdict in their favour. Despite this achievement, the present panchayat was allured to part away this prized land and transfer it to Glada for Industrialization. Moreover, 350 acres of Government land was added from the defunct State Seed farm, a pig farm and potato research centre.
As soon as the news spread like wildfire, Environmentalists and nature lovers took to social media and started a campaign to stop unnatural development of the natural habitat of Mattewara.
Moreover, the land falls close to Sutlej river plane and is immensely prone to Flood like disaster in the past.
Mattewara and its adjoining forest is spread over more than 4000 acres of natural reserves, housing several varieties of flora and fauna. It is the oxygen factory for whole of ludhiana and habitat for scores of animals and birds, including neel gai, peacocks, monkeys, wild boars, deers and serpent varieties. The nearby butterfly and Botanical Garden is known for exotic varieties of butterflies and insects. Once an Industrial zone comes up close this inhabitants, the whole ecological balance will get ruined in due coarse of time.
NGT, the premier National Green Tribunal has already stalled the construction of a 4 lane road in middle of Mattewara forest, the bridge that links with Rahon on the other side of Ludhiana.
To oppose the haphazard development and save the Mattewara forest area , a public action committee has been a crusader to fight a battle with vested interest of the State Government and callous attitude of the bureaucracy towards this man made disaster.
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