Continuing its drive to axe 152 fully grown trees terming them a ‘hindrance’ to traffic flow, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has till now chopped around 45 of them at various points in the city.
On Thursday, trees were pruned and chopped on Malhar road. The move has exposed the double standards of the civic body as no action is being taken against the encroachments on all the main roads, causing hindrance in traffic.
Not only this, even the forest department is silent over the decision saying that “it has no power to interfere in matters and property of the MC”.
Trees — some of them being 60-70 years old — on various roads like Rani Jhansi road, Pakhowal road, Ferozepur road, Sarabha Nagar road and various other points in the city have fallen prey to this policy of traffic police and the Ludhiana MC.
Surinder Kumar, executive engineer of the MC’s horticulture department, said, “We need not take permission from the forest department for chopping these trees as they are our property. Also, the traffic police is the competent authority to order chopping of trees to ease the traffic flow.”
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He added that “during a survey 152 such fully grown trees have been identified which are a hindrance in traffic and 45 are chopped till now”.
Asked if the MC is planting new ones before chopping as per rules, he said, “We will plant them in the upcoming planting season of July-August. At present, plantation is going on in parks and greenbelts.”
However, the forest department expresses its helplessness. When contacted, district forest officer Daljit Singh Brar said, “As per rules of forest area, plantation should be done beforehand but since the property does not belong to us, we cannot say anything to MC in this regard. However, they should have some conscience and plant new ones before chopping fully grown trees.”