THE Punjab and Haryana High Court Wednesday issued a notice to the Chandigarh Administration on an application seeking to restrain the authorities from allegedly cutting down nearly 700 trees on both sides of Dakshin Marg and Purv Marg for the construction of a flyover.
An urgent hearing was sought in the matter by The Run Club, an NGO whose PIL related to solid waste management is already pending before the court, on Wednesday and the matter was fixed for hearing during the day itself. A notice has been issued to the authorities for July 23.
Senior Advocate Puneet Bali while quoting the reports of this newspaper submitted before a division bench that the decision to cut down the trees is highly questionable as “these are mature trees which were planted as per the Chandigarh Project Pan in a planned and thoughtful manner”.
“Mostly, these trees consist of Mango trees which have been standing for several decades and help in not only increasing the green cover of the city but also help in keeping pollution in check on account of heavy traffic on Dakshin Marg and pollution from the surrounding industrial area,” the application said, adding the proposed construction of flyover at Tribune Chowk on Dakshin Marg is in violation of the Master Plan.
Submitting that a number of urban communities are moving away from the concept of constructing flyovers, the application said major urban centres in the world like Seoul, San Francisco etc have managed to implement localised solutions to manage traffic with minimum impact on environment.
“Another major issue with constructing this flyover is that it is being built over a long stretch and it is unknown whether alternative Engineering solutions were taken into account. It has been normally observed that the Engineering Solutions for a traffic problem at a particular spot by providing a flyover may generally lead to over-crowding at the place where the traffic descends,” the application said.
The application further said an efficient public transport system is key to the traffic problem being faced in the city on account of ever-increasing number of cars. “Felling of these trees would cause irreparable harm to the environment as there seems to be no way of replacing such old trees at other locations,” it said.