While the growing civic infrastructure in Gurgaon is improving the quality of life in this fast-expanding city, one area where the citizens are losing out is the green cover that has to be cleared for various projects.
In 2014, for works such as road expansion and power and civic projects, the Forest department gave permission to government agencies to cut around 5,000 trees and 17,960 plants in the forest areas of Gurgaon. The felling was allowed under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.
In one road project — the expansion of Gurgaon-Chandu-Badli-Bahadurgarh road — the Public Works Department cleared 641 trees and 529 plants last year. Similarly, for strengthening the water supply line from Budhera village to Bhondsi, an approval to fell 495 trees was issued by the Forest department to the Public Health Engineering department.
Of these trees, 358 were lost in Sohna, whereas the rest 137 are to be felled in Gurgaon block. For the expansion of Farrukhnagar-Jhajjar state road, the permission to clear 2,707 trees and 11,338 plants was issued in January last year.
Also, to expand Palwal-Sohna-Rewari road into four lanes, 241 trees and 661 plants were cleared.
For the widening of Mauzabad-Jatauli road, permission to cut 344 trees and 3,315 plants was given in June last year. In March last year, the Haryana power distribution firm was allowed permission to fell 244 trees and 1,570 plants for laying a 220kV transmission line from a sub-station in Sector 72 to Ranagal Rajpur.
The state Forest department also issued approval to the Power Grid Corporation (a government enterprise) for cutting 137 trees and 520 plants to help construct a 765kV sub-station.
“While carrying out these activities, all provisions of the Forest Conservation Act are strictly followed. The application goes through a series of channels, to the head office and to the Central government depending on the size of the project and the agencies involved,” a senior forest official in Gurgaon said.
The official also said that for every project that involves cutting trees, the authorities ensure that at least an equal number of saplings are planted as compensatory plantation. And the department that seeks felling is made to deposit a certain amount that is utilised by the Forest department to plant those saplings, he said.