Nearly 2000 trees, many of them more than 100 years old were chopped down for widening the road connecting Dharwad and Hubbali. As per the Environmental Clearance given by Ministry of Environment and Forest, Govt. of India, about 4000 Trees are to be planted along the new widened highway. However, the project proponent, DULT / KRDCL and the Forest Department are pointing fingers at each other and haven’t yet made the plan for the avenue plantation.
The trees that were cut included banyan, mango, neem, pipal and tamarind, many of them more than 100 years old, were destroyed for widening the road to 4-lanes. The girth (diameter) of many of the trees KILLED was as big as 5 metres and has affected the ecology of the region adversely.
Neither DULT / KRDCL nor the Forest Department have any plan for the Avenue plantation along the highway, although the project is due for completion by Apr. 2013.
We appeal to Shri Indu B. Srivastava (Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Karnataka) and Ms. Manjula (Commissioner, DULT) and concerned to take immediate steps to implement the Avenue Plantation (as per the Environmental Clearance).
For more information visit - http://rastr.in/M4KTrees.html or call me at 9916135836
At the outset, we congratulate you for assuming highest office in the Government as Honorable Chief Minister of the State. We are sure to have a person in highest office to redress the problems of Hubballi Dharwad twin cities.
This Memorandum of appeal is from the Citizens of Hubballi Dharwad to protect millions of lives. We are sure, you being one of the prominent citizens of Hubballi Dharwad would appreciate our efforts in conserving the age-old beauty of Hubballi Dharwad. Hence we are drawing your honorable attention to the irresponsible acts of Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) and the Forest Department.
As you know well KRDCL is in the process of development of State Highway 73 from Dharwad to Hubballi for the last 2 years albeit at snail’s pace. The old road covering almost 20 Km was having ancient native trees like banyan, tamarind, guava, mango, chikku, pipal, etc. along side in full stretch. You may appreciate that with a view to develop this road the trees, many of whose girth (diameter) was more than 5 metres were cut for the purpose of widening the road.
As you regularly travel Dharwad Hubballi you must have observed that the age old trees have been cut along side the Hubballi – Dharwad State Highway 73, which created substantial environmental imbalance. The prime damages are as under.
Decrease / Loss of Oxygen generation.
Loss of Shelter / Habitat to Species of various Birds, Reptiles and Insects.
Substantial climatic change.
Moreover, we would like to bring to your kind attention that the Environmental Experts including Mr. Suresh Heblikar (Eco Watch) had pointed that this act of rampant cutting of the trees along the highway between Hubballi Dharwad will effect the sensitive environment of this region resulting in adverse impact to Soil, Climate and the Rainfall. In addition ground water resources also would be affected.
It will affect the Bio –Diversity of the region, thereby affecting the Agricultural and Horticultural crops too.
The temperature will soar adding to the electricity bills.
Hubballi-Dharwad is experiencing the shortage of water invariably. The loss of tree cover will further worsen the situation by critically disturbing the hydrological pattern and groundwater especially.
For a lot of agricultural families, people who sell mangoes and guavas and fodder and also shepherds, these trees were the shelter. Also the migratory birds, aquatic birds took shelter on these trees. The bird population will also dwindle affecting pollination and the local biodiversity
In fact lot of these trees would have been saved and still the road could have been widened. All said and done the precious environment has already been affected thus resulting in future economic fall out.
In view of this, the time has come to save the remaining ecosystem by planting new trees. In our opinion minimum 20,000 trees are required to be planted in compensation of the trees cut.
As per records with the citizens of Hubballi – Dharwad the responsibility of compensatory avenue plantation at the rate of one tree on either side per 10 meter road length is that of KRDCL. However KRDCL has neither initiated afforestation work nor appears to be interested in doing so at the earliest in the first instance. No land is available or identified along the highway for the purpose. The ball is rolling between Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF), Dharwad and DULT/KRDCL as to who is responsible for plantation of trees. However, it is clear that it is the responsibility of DULT/KRDCL to comply with conditions of Environmental Clearance for the project accorded by SEIAA, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. It has to work with the Forest Department for the purpose and the Forest Department, being the custodian of the floral/green wealth of the state, has to support this effort.
Ecology is of prime importance in today’s times. The State Government is time and again making hue and cry over the drought and systematically neglecting environmental imbalances are being done by the Government Departments. It is our sincere request that the Government at your highest level intervene in the matter to ask DULT/KRDCL or the Forest Department as the case may be to own their responsibility to plant the requisite trees along the highway against the green wealth it has destroyed. The Forest Department must be directed to reconsider its permission to allow DULT/KRDCL cut these trees without any condition of real compensatory afforestation and ask DULT/KRDCL to grow 10 times the number of trees cut for the project.
Sir, we will be obliged if you direct KRDCL
TO PUBLISH A PLAN TO PLANT AND PROTECT TREES WITH TIME FRAME
It would be appropriate if a Team of observers is formed with representatives from local environmental Groups and Civil Society to monitor the work of plantation and protecting trees by KRDCL or the Forest Department. This is important and essential since KRDCL or the Forest Department have so far not acted upon the responsibility to be discharged and moreover the plantation of trees should be in accordance with the ecological system. The tress to be planted must be native to the region and are specifically Banyan, Tamrind, pipal, mango, guava and so on, which can last for centuries and help conserve ecology.
We, the citizens of Hubballi Dharwad are sure that our efforts would fructify in your tenure as Honorable Chief Minister of the state and you would be saviour of environment of your native region.
The opinion of people is getting momentum against the lethargy of the Government Departments and lackadaisical attitude of KRDCL in the entire ecological issue thus making this case fit for Public Interest Litigation to bring in the judiciary to intervene. This would unnecessarily lead to the adverse opinion of the localities against the present day government and its leadership.
All said and done, it is our humble request to remedy the situation at the earliest to save the millions of lives of Hubballi Dharwad and surrounding towns and villages.
The Citizens of as undersigned
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