RESIDENTS OF the girls’ hostel number 2 of Panjab University are upset over the university’s decision to cut down 10 eucalyptus trees in the hostel’s courtyard.
Although the university has taken permission from the Department of Forests and Wildlife of the Chandigarh Administration to cut down the trees, the hostel residents are disturbed by the abrupt decision, as they were not informed about the major alteration set to be made to their hostel’s landscape.
“These trees have been here for a long time, almost since the hostel was constructed. Hostel residents enjoy the shade of the trees, which have become an essential part of their life here,” said a resident of the hostel.
Explaining the logic behind the cutting down of trees, Urmil, assistant warden at the hostel, said, “In 2010, one such tree fell down on a building of the hostel and completely demolished it. This is why we have identified potentially dangerous trees and have sought permission to uproot them.”
Kamla, the head warden of the hostel, claims that she has been sending letters to the administration asking for their permission to uproot the trees since she joined the university. “The permission has finally come now. So about 10 trees which have been identified as potentially dangerous, as they can fall on the buildings and injure the students,” Kamla said. “They are taller than the hostel building now. So just trimming the branches won’t be effective in ensuring that the tree does not destroy the construction.”
“Once they age, eucalyptus trees can be easily uprooted by strong winds and thunder storms. Hence the permission has been granted to uproot the trees,” said Anil Thakur from PU’s horticulture department. “They will be planting new trees in place of the old ones.”
Some students from the hostel spent the whole day trying to prevent more trees from getting uprooted. “Already four trees are gone, and more will go soon. I don’t know if we can do anything to stop the destruction now. This is going to alter the sense of familiarity that us hostellers have formed with our home away from home,” a hostel resident said.
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