Updated: August 8, 2021 9:48:58 pm
An engineer of the Junagadh division of roads and buildings (R&B) department of the state government has launched a campaign to seek help from the civil society to transplant around 150 big trees that are likely to be affected by the widening of Junagadh-Bhesan state highway (SH) No.109 and Bhesan-Parab Vavdi state highway No. 110.
The engineer, Vivek Goswami, has been using social media platforms and groups of nature enthusiasts, appealing for help to save around 150 trees that are likely to be cut for the widening of SH 109 from 7.5 metres to 10 metres and SH 110 from 5.5 metres to 10 metres.
“Usually, such trees are chopped after obtaining permission from the forest department for clearing land for widening a highway. Sometimes, the width of a highway is reduced to save trees but doing so creates accident-prone zones. In this case, we want to save these trees by transplanting them to alternate locations. As this kind of operations are not part of the highway widening projects, I have appealed to nature enthusiasts, NGOs and firms that own equipment to transplant trees to come forward and help,” said Goswami.
The engineer said that majority of the trees are neem, banyan, peepul, flamboyant trees and Australian pines. “These trees are average 20 years old and are huge… Some people have already responded to our appeal but they are quoting Rs 5,000 per tree as the charge of transplantation and we don’t have that much fund. Therefore, in my personal capacity, I am requesting help,” added 32-year-old Goswami, who is a native of Junagadh district.
The engineer said that his division may try to get some special amount sanctioned from the government to save these trees but that may not be sufficient to transplant all of them. “The R&B does not have the machinery and equipment to transplant trees. Our long-term idea is to have such machinery with people’s participation,” he added.
The twin highways are set to be widened at the cost of Rs 33.60 crore. The contract has been assigned to Spiral Construction Corporation, a firm based out of Keshod in Junagadh district, and the engineer said that the work is scheduled to begin after two months when the south-west monsoon season ends.
These two state highways give alternate connectivity to Junagadh with Amreli district. Parab Vavdi is also home to Parab Dham, a place of worship that draws lakhs to devotees every year.
LV Bariya, executive engineer of Junagadh division of R&B, could not be contacted for a comment.
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