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AT ONE end of the town in Sabarmati, at a 74-acre materials depot of Western Railway, horticulturists and engineers are busy using an imported transplantation machine to relocate full grown trees. This is to clear way for the main maintenance depot of India’s first bullet train project that will come up there.
There are around 2,500 trees on the campus and NHSRCL is trying to relocate all of them, some along the boundary of the site. Between uprooting and replanting comes a process to apply anti-fungal chemicals to the roots. “This is a pilot project to relocate as many trees as we can,” Dhananjay Kumar, NHSRCL spokesman told The Indian Express.
How many will be relocated eventually and how many will face the axe will depend on the success of the pilot and if things look viable in terms of time taken, and money and manpower deployed, then tree transplantation, and not axing, will be preferred during the construction of the 508-km corridor from Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Made by the firm Big John of USA, these truck-chassis mounted machines with hydraulic lifters and excavators are popularly called “Tree spade” and are used to relocate trees where traditional methods of transplantation would be time-consuming and expensive.
The campus is currently protected by the Railway Protection Force guarding railway scrap worth an estimated Rs 50-100 crore. When the high-tech maintenance facility comes up here, a lone Shiva temple will be the only surviving structure from the current materials depot. Officials said the temple will stay, while the materials depot will shift to a Kendriya Vidyalaya land near Sabarmati.
A part of the campus houses a container facility of Railway PSU Container Corporation of India (Concor). To secure the campus, NHSRCL is making a brand new depot for Concor at the other end of the town near Gandhinagar next to the Adani city called Shantigram. Labourers and heavy lifting machinery are at work here as the structure of the depot is taking shape. Tender for the work was awarded in June and the depot will come up by February.
All these places constituting the Ahmedabad stretch of the bullet train project, has work in full swing. The contractor has even started survey to build the viaducts of the main corridor while bids for the tender to build the first terminal in Sabarmati will be opened on October 5.