Up in arms against UT Administration’s decision to allegedly pull down 700 trees for the construction of Sector 29 flyover, a group of concerned residents lodged their protests — some outside the civic body’s office, while some through a signature campaign online.
An online signature campaign by the name “ Save the trees- Chandigarh first flyover” has been started and 2,400 people had signed it by around 6 pm.
“Respected decision makers, before initiating the work on the proposed flyover, request you to please spell out the detailed plans in front of the public, have a public debate, spell out the plans regarding what happens to the cut down trees, why is the flyover really required, what alternatives were considered etc. please don not proceed without convincing public at large. Surely, some other alternatives which are more environmental friendly can evolve with discussions,” the signature campaign stated.
UT Adviser Manoj Parida told Chandigarh Newsline that it is not 700 trees but around 500 trees that will be pulled down for the flyover and they will compensate for the razed trees.
“Minimum number of trees will be cut, only those which are unavoidable.. Ten times the number of trees cut will be planted…. Administration has to balance conflicting demands of development and environment,” Parida said.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament Kirron Kher, who is credited with bringing the flyover to the city, put out a a video message on Twitter claiming that “the number of trees that is being quoted is inflated and just a false propaganda by the opposition”.
Kher posted on her Twitter handle that minimum number of trees will be razed and in turn of one tree, as many as five will be planted.
“A lie is being spread by the opposition now- that 700 trees are being cut. It is a highly inflated figure. The flyover will be constructed only at the Tribune chowk and minimum trees will be cut. In place of one tree which will be pulled down, the administration will plant five more. Chandigarh is the only city which has its green cover increased,” she said the post.
However, Kher went on to say, “ But at the same time, you people tell me that you all face traffic problems. To solve this, with great difficulty we got this tribune flyover. Believe me, no 700 trees are being cut. It is ploy by the opposition to say this and a ploy by those people who wanted to bring Metro in which whole city was to be dug up- trees and markets were to be razed,” she added.
Kher said that they will balance it out as they have to reduce the traffic congestion for people and at the same time ensure that the green cover is retained.
UT special Secretary engineering Mukesh Anand did not respond to calls or messages.