Nagpur: An environmentalist has petitioned to the Tree Authority & Garden Superintendent of Nagpur Municipal Corporation and strongly opposed cutting or translocating thousands of trees to facilitate construction of proposed Inter Modal Station (IMS) project in Ajni area of the city. According to the plan, 4522 trees are to be axed for the IMS project and 408 trees to be cut for construction of a flyover in Ajni.
The Nagpur Municipal Corporation had published public notices on May 25 and June 2, 2021 inviting objections and suggestions from people over the IMS project and cutting of trees.
The environmentalist visited the site of the proposed IMS project and raised several points opposing the project and axing of trees.
The points raised by the environmentalist are:
· By cutting thousands of trees will result in huge loss of oxygen producing sources for humans. During the prevailing pandemic, a number of citizens spent their hard-earned money for purchasing oxygen in cylinders. The Supreme Court had also framed guidelines about the value of oxygen produced by trees. It is requested that the same values be prepared for the public to know regarding these trees which are proposed to be cut.
· The land does not belong to NHAI then how can NMC grant them permission to cut trees based on their application.
· NHAI is giving details of tree cutting/translocation in parts only (i.e. 4522 trees in IMS phase-1). Why is the count for the total number of trees for all phases of construction not shown? NMC is being kept in the dark about this fact. Neither environment clearance has been obtained nor environment impact assessment is done.
· Around 56 species of tree varieties are proposed to be cut. Will compensatory plantation plant these types of biodiversity species?
· These trees not only provide oxygen but also clean the polluted air and hold soil.
· In 2019 RCC of ISRO has given a report stating that over 30% of green cover (one-third in area) was lost in the past decades in Nagpur. This is alarming. Cutting of more trees will lead to decline in more green cover in the city.
· IMS project is a luxury project which can be relocated but trees cannot be transplanted as past experiences were failures. All translocations of trees in the past were failures and cost a huge amount of taxpayers’ money. Survival is zero. All species cannot be translocated. Nagpur’s climate does not suit such processes.
· Compensatory plantation of executing agencies is also mostly on paper and unsuccessful. NHAI’s compensatory work is unsuccessful and survival rates are very low in most projects. Therefore any number of compensatory plantation cannot replace the cut trees which are many years old.
· These trees are habitat for many species of birds and control the micro climate. Cutting of trees would destroy homes of many birds, insects which are pollinating agents as well as essential parts of biodiversity.
The environmentalist stated that such kind of ‘infrastructural development at the taxpayers’ cost depriving those of cost of life (basic air and water) compelled him to raise strong objections against such perpetrators of mass scale destruction in a city like Nagpur.
The environmentalist appealed to people to file such petitions with appropriate authorities and send a strong message that no more atyachar (exploitation) of Nagpur, Maharashtra, India and the world will be tolerated.