THE DISTRICT administration Friday started preparations for the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Ludhiana scheduled for October 18. In the process, the green cover and trees at the venue Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) were badly damaged, chopped and pruned.
Modi is scheduled to attend an award ceremony for industrialists that will be organised by Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises.
The daily walkers and families residing inside the campus complained that a patch of land which earlier was nestled inside green cover was completely exposed and all trees and shrubs around it were removed to make way for a VIP pandal and its passage.
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A PAU resident said, “The patch of the ground in PAU has been used to set up a VIP pandal. We have no issues with it but today we saw that shrubs, trees near it has been badly chopped and pruned. Earlier that ground wasn’t visible as it was nestled inside green cover but today all greenery had vanished and the pandal was clearly visible. The uprooted shrubs and trees were also lying there.”
A PAU scientist said, “We welcome the PM’s visit but Ludhiana is one of the most polluted city in the world and the green cover at PAU has served as its lungs. It is the only campus that has preserved its greenery and given residents a green hub. Destroying greenery for the PM’s visit is unacceptable and the vice chancellor should take up the matter with the administration.”
PAU estate officer V S Hans did not respond to phone calls. Ludhiana deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat said, “We had ordered that some shrubs and weeds but pruning or chopping of trees is not allowed. I will look into the matter.”
Sanjiv Malhotra, BJP media in-charge, said, “We are not in favour of tampering with green cover for visit. The DC office is looking after arrangements and the main organiser is MSME.”