Gurgaon is paying a heavy price for building crucial road infrastructure as over 9,000 trees have been felled to develop a flyover and three underpasses in the city, raising the ire of environmentalists. The move has raised eyebrows as environmentalists and Meteorological department officials are apprehensive that atmospheric temperatures could rise up to 3 degree Celsius in the affected micro areas. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has chopped more than 9,000 trees to develop a flyover and three underpasses in the city. Moreover, the agency has not given any blueprint about developing green channels and city forest in particular areas as compensation for the chopped trees.
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“Trees were chopped at massive scale and majority of them were fully grown and more than 25 years old that would eventually disturb the climate of micro level areas. If we develop trees from the beginning, it will take 25 years to get same status,” said city-based environmentalist Jagdeep Mann.
NHAI is constructing three underpasses and loops at Iffco Chowk, Signature Tower and Rajeev Chowk and a flyover at Hero Honda Chowk at the cost of thousands of Peepal, Banyan, and Neem trees. NHAI officials claim that chopping of trees was done following prior permission of the Haryana forest department.
Environmentalists are furious over the green loss that the city is bearing now and allege that the infrastructure body has chopped trees in an inappropriate and unprofessional manner.
“In many environment-friendly nations in Europe, they used to work on uprooting method so that re-plantation followed by nurturing the trees gets easier in lesser time,” Mann said and also cited example of the Mughals who constructed mausoleums in gardens full of trees.
“The residents of Gurgaon are worse than dead people,” he lamented. A senior forest official of Gurgaon on condition of anonymity told PTI, “There is no doubt that underpass and flyover projects are against the environment. Still, we have given permission following direction of state government”.
“The forest department has asked NHAI to plant 1.5 lakh trees to compensate the losses of fully grown trees. They have given clarification that re-rooting fully grown trees is practically impossible here due to lack of infrastructure and facilities,” the official said. He also added that NHAI has been asked for plantation of trees from Gurgaon to Mahendragarh.