No cutting of trees during June and July:Achieve afforestation target: Allahabad High Court tells state government:


Rajesh Pandey


The state government assured that felling of trees would not be done in the month of June and July in Prayagraj after the suggestion was given by the high court that cutting of trees be deferred for sometime so that period of extreme heat is over. The court directed to list the PIL, alleging indiscriminate felling of trees by the state in the name of widening of roads, in the third week of July 2024 for the next hearing.


During the course of hearing of PILs filed by Anand Malviya and others, the chief standing counsel (CSC) Kunal Ravi Singh, on behalf of the state government, assured the court that felling of trees would not be done in the months of June to July, 2024 and shall be resumed after the compensatory afforestation is carried out in the Month of July, 2024. He further submitted that, in case, compensatory afforestation is undertaken without cutting the existing trees, it may not be possible to achieve the prescribed target but he fairly admitted that it would still be possible to achieve 60-70 per cent of the prescribed target.


Taking the assurance of CSC on record, a division bench comprising Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta and Justice Kshitij Shailendra directed the Vice-Chairman, Prayagraj Development Authority (PDA) to file his affidavit on or before the next date and bring on record the steps taken by him in the meantime in regard to compensatory afforestation. He shall also disclose in his affidavit the species of trees planted on Mahatma Gandhi Marg Road and Sadar Patel Marg in Civil Lines area under compensatory afforestation drive in lieu of cutting of old grown up trees on the two roads during road widening.


The court also directed the authorities to consider planting of local species of shade-trees on the aforesaid two roads during the coming rainy season and disclose the steps taken in this regard in the affidavit to be filed.


Passing the above directives, the court in its order dated May 31 observed, “We have seen the city temperature touching nearly 50 degree celsius and one of the major cause attributable to it is non-judicious cutting of trees and considerable reduction in green cover of the city. The newspapers are full of news of people dying because of heat strokes and considerable rise in influx of patients in hospitals. We feel that it is need of the hour that compensatory afforestation is carried out without fail in the month of July, 2024. Effort should be made to plant healthy grown up trees, as assured by the Vice-Chairman, Prayagraj Development Authority (PDA), Prayagraj in the affidavit filed by him”.

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