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Friday, May 14, 2021

‘Will be penned down in history’: Sangrur citizens write to Singla about ‘merciless’ tree felling

Residents say excess trees cut without required permissions; PWD rejects claims

By: Express News Service | Ludhiana |
April 23, 2021 10:08:02 pm
Residents of Sangrur observed one minute silence while protesting against the cutting of trees on Kali Devi Temple road in March. (Express File Photo)

Nearly a month after residents of Sangrur observed a minute’s silence to protest against the “merciless massacre” of trees in the city on March 14, they alleged that the Public Works Department (PWD) is still cutting down trees for ‘road widening’ and other works without required permissions.

No action was being taken to stop the “ruthless axing of the city’s green cover”, they said.

A strongly-worded letter undersigned by ‘aggrieved citizens of Sangrur’ has now been sent to local MLA cum Cabinet Minister Vijay Inder Singla and Punjab Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, demanding action against officials responsible.

Jasinder Sekhon, a city resident, claimed that recently, the PWD had cut down 27 fully-grown trees on Kali Devi Temple Road and more than 300 trees at different locations have been axed in a similar way in the past three years in Sangrur city, but failed to provide any valid justification for the same.

“Even after our protest, the massacre has been continuing and even on Thursday, 4-5 fully grown trees have been axed on Kali Devi Temple Road. Locals have been literally crying to save their trees but not a single official has been listening to our pleas. They are chopping trees without giving any valid justification and without required permits but no action is being taken to stop this,” said Sekhon.

The letter sent to Singla, undersigned by several residents including Harbinder Singh Sekhon (88) and Hardarshan Kaur Grewal (85), reads: “…It will be penned down in history Mr Singla how your actions have made residents go through a harrowing time ever since you became a minister…Your PWD officers posted in Sangrur…they show no fear towards the law of nature as well as the law of land by the way they have mercilessly got the trees axed under the garb of development… No valid justification or due process of law was followed for this act… On Kali Mata Mandir road, officials had promised us on your behalf that not a single branch would be touched on this road. But 27 trees were mercilessly axed…”

“We would be eager to know how you will do damage control after the unwarranted ecological imbalance created here by your officials.. Look at number of trees which were more than 150 years old…The trees which were axed on Bus Stand Road, Ranbir College Road, inside local civil hospital, circular road, near Circuit House, Stadium Road in Banasar Bagh.. all done without permissions and lack of transparency…”

“Hope you will introspect… and plan to transplant at least 400 trees in Sangrur city… Do read the book: Indira Gandhi – A life in Nature by Jairam Ramesh,” the letter said.

Ajay Garg, sub-divisional officer (SDO), PWD, said 26 trees on Kali Devi Temple road were chopped for a road-widening project after getting all required permissions. “It was done because there was no other way out. After those 26 trees, not a single tree has been cut on that road. All these allegations of trees still being chopped are baseless,” he added.

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