The project would devoid the villagers from the age old natural water resource and would be an ecological disaster in Shimla
750 trees, which are to be taken down, have already been marked
The state government has definitely no concern for the ecology of the state except printing ‘Save Trees’ on hoardings and papers. The plan approved to establish a new HPSEB substation in the Bhadai village near Sankat Mochan temple requires clearing of 750 trees, which have been already marked by the forest department.
The local residents are in a great distress as the project would result in a great damage to their local resources, especially, a natural water resource that lies just 50 feet below the suggested site, that serves the water needs of a major population of the Panchayat throughout the year. The Yovak Mandal of Bhadhai wrote an application to the Assistant Engineer of Jatog subdivision of HPSEEB requesting him to change the location of the project considering the following issues:
• The number of trees to be axed is very huge and every resident of the village and the nearby population is against this massacre. The forest holds a great emotional value for the villagers as they have been protecting it from fires and helped it expand by organized tree plantation activities from time to time.
• An age old natural resource of water, 50 feet below the site of the construction of the substation, provides pure drinking water to the villagers and they depend on the resource throughout the year. The cutting of trees is likely to damage the natural resource, which is against the policies created to conserve the water resources.
• The forest is the major feeding ground for the domestic animals. Hence, the construction of the substation would devoid the villagers from the local resources.
• Lastly, the villagers are worried about the over exploitation of the natural resources and deforestation, which are the results of the unethical steps taken on the name of development of Shimla by the state government.
The residents also approached Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, MLA Sohan Lal, Minster of Forest Jyanti Natraajan, and Forest Department. However, nothing could get an ear from anyone for their grievances. Here is the scanned copy of the letter that contains the issues, which the local resident have verified by putting their signatures on it.
It’s not about this specific plan, for which state government has ignored the ecological loss. The whole world and many Indian states are putting efforts to preserve the environment and plantation of trees, but Himachal Pradhesh government appears to be promoting deforestation without provoking any criticism from the opposition. Shimla has witnessed the massacre in Kanlog Shimla, where hundreds of Deodar trees have already been axed and more are likely to meet the same fate so that 24 private luxury apartments could be built. In another case, the state government laid the foundation stone of the new complex of Irrigation and Public Health Headquarters on Shimla bypass road, which requires clearing of approximately 50-60 trees.
It would be a ridiculous decision to choose such a location for any construction that demands sacrifice of 750 trees, unless there is a strong reason behind it. Why the forest areas with a higher tree density are being chosen for the construction of the private and the government infrastructure? Where are the laws protecting the trees and ecology? Is government saving the clear areas for the private firms or the planners aren’t actually acquainted with the phenomenon of climate change due to deforestation? The government is conserving the forest and the beauty of Himachal just in the papers. Otherwise, no state would agree to chop down such a huge number of trees.
Other than forwarding the complaint to the concerned government office, we request HW Community members and readers to support the local residents through their reactions against such an unwise government action. Your contribution helps in creating awareness among other members of our society and to play your part of the duty, as any responsible citizen of the state would do.