Nagpurians plan to form the “biggest human chain” on 1st May 2019 to protest ‘authorities’ plan to build a road through Bharat van. Many colleges and schools are going to participate in the human chain. What are they fighting for?
Just look at the above picture. You see this lush greenery at the edge of Bharat Nagar? It’s a 100 acres plot of land that has hundreds of trees…. all over 100 years old! (Just look at one picture with some persons walking under it, and you can see by comparison how tall the trees are; how they dwarf the people under them!)
There are Ajan, also known as Arjun, teak, bamboo that has flowered and is ready for next generation, Chinchwa, tamarind, Mango, Peepal, Banyan and other trees growing here. This urban forest has not just these mature trees but through the natural process hundreds of saplings growing beneath them. Chosen and planted by nature; there is no need to water them and protect them. The fittest will grow to be mature trees in time.
Bharatvan is home to 130 species of birds including some peacocks.
“We hear the peacock calls in the evenings and early mornings; it is a pleasant sound to wake up to! The proximity of the greenery keeps our areas cooler than the rest of the city.
But we do not want this small forest preserved just for our sake as some politicians think! This is the last surviving forest within Nagpur city and it acts as the lungs of the city. The deep roots of trees like Arjun, attract and preserve the water table for Nagpurians, and underground water – from Wadi to Sitabaldi, wells have water due to this ground water.” Says Laxmi Kinkhede, whose house is the first on the periphery of the forest.
The residents of Bharat Nagar which includes people of many layouts there along with Environment lovers and friends of trees have formed an organization called ‘Apna Van, Bharat Van’ to fight in preserving this pristine area.
Many Nagpur NGOs like ‘I clean Nagpur’, Swacha, and Jaydeep Das, the honourary Wildlife Warden of Nagpur District are working with them to create awareness about this campaign and work with them in making the ‘Human Chain’ on 1st May a big success.
NT Editor met concerned Nagpurians like Sandeep Agrawal, Shashi Kanoria, Vandana and others in going through the Bharat Van and seeing where they proposed road is being planned.
Just at the Bharat Nagar square there is a road going into the colony that ends where the compound wall of the wooded area cuts it off. (This area is with PKV now.) The plan is to extend this road right through the Bharatvan and connect it to the Seminary Hills base road. A length of around 500 meters. This road extension will fall right on a small stream that flows in the mini forest. So naturally there are many trees lined up on the two sides of the nallah to avail of the water source. We found flocks of birds in and around the nallah and later many buffaloes, brought to feed, settling themselves in the water to fend off the summer heat!
All these trees will go when the road is built. The nallah itself will go. There will be no salubrious creatures enjoying the water body…
Why is the road being planned now?
As Shashi Kanoria explains ” they plan to shut down the Futala lakeside road for 2 years when they plan to beautify ( again!!!) the Futala lake side. So they feel this road is required, which everyone living in the area or commuting through it disagrees with. Even if the Futala road is closed, there are other alternative roads like the roads going through Ravi Nagar and the WHC road too. ”
Opines Sandeep Agrawal, ” if the Bharatvan is destroyed will water remain in Futala itself? What will be the point of beautification then?”
As the Apna Van people point out – ” Help us in saving Bharat van. Any step shoud be taken with a positive view. In spite of being Life Givers the Trees cannot speak for themselves. And the authorities are using people’s money to ‘benefit citizens’ they say. We do not want this ‘benefit’. Our opinion should matter, shouldn’t it?”
Will it matter, finally? Or will courts have to step in?
– Sunita Mudaliar, Executive Editor