Living on the edge

Man has been endowed with reason,with the power to create,so that he can add to what he’s been given.

Written by Amrita Chaudhry | Ludhiana | Published:January 18, 2009 3:45 am

With shrinking greens and widening roads,rainwater harvesting has become a headache

Man has been endowed with reason,with the power to create,so that he can add to what he’s been given. But up till now he hasn’t been a creator,only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing,rivers dry up,wild life’s become extinct,the climate’s ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day — Uncle Vanya (1897) by Anton Chekov.

This holds true for our very own Ludhiana where development means broader roads,a plethora of bridges and more skyscrapers,leaving little space for mother nature to be part of the ‘development’.

The city roads are an apt example of how we are encroaching upon the space otherwise meant for nature. The roads in the city are getting broader by the day. When space is at a premium,the only way to create more space is by destroying the green belts along these roads. A majority of these lanes,roads and bylanes in the city extend from edge to edge.

Even the mushrooming colonies do not pay any heed to preserve the green cover,all thanks to the callous attitude of the Municipal Corporation.

Dr M S Grewal,soil scientist,Punjab Agricultural University,says,“The green belts were maintained parallel to the roads so that rain water could be harvested. These belts,which are lower than the road,absorb water thereby saving the road from developing cracks. They also help in maintaining the city’s water table.”

“Now,the situation is reverse. There are no green belts. Come rains and within a few minutes the roads get inundated with water. Even the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation does not pay any attention to this problem,” complains Gurshminder Singh,a resident of BRS Nagar.

Dr H S Bilga,in-charge,Horticulture wing,explains,“It requires Rs 1 lakh to construct a rainwater harvester. The same can be done totally free if we maintain these green belts. We do keep raising this issue at various meetings but each time we are told that people demand edge-to-edge roads and councillors have to relent to the public demand.”

Another official of the LMC,who did not want to be named,listed how callous Ludhianvis are when it comes to greenery and environment. “People do not let us plant trees outside their homes complaining that their homes get littered with leaves that fall into their compounds. Each monsoon,when we take up this drive to plant trees,people vehemently oppose the idea. As far as the issue of edge-to-edge road is concerned,the residents say that they need place to park their cars and hence need levelled space and no kuccha green belts. There are also such concrete roads in the city,which have electricity poles between them,but residents make it concrete so that they can park their vehicles.”

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