Save Trees: 24 private luxury apartments on the grave of hundreds of trees
Himachal Watcher visited the spot where DFL has been given NOC to 6,650 square meter land in a thick forest for building 24 luxury apartments.
In a country like India, where political and economically powerful personalities have sold their souls to the God of Greed and all matters is the wealth they have in their lockers or in Swiss banks. The money plus political power means monopoly. For instance, how powerful and monopolistic a person can be if he has relations to the powerful family with great political background, have assets more than that of Mr. Ambani, and is partner with DLF Limited, India’s largest real estate conglomerate. Let me site a recent example.
Bemloe Development and Infrastructure Company asked for the permission to build 24 super luxury villas on a land in Shimla, in the middle of a dense forest, the whole construction plan granted permission in a single day. Now, if a common man approaches with a small construction plan to government departments like MC and Forest, then he’ll have wander in government offices for months. Even if the ruling government can justify the allotment of the land, how the forest department and the Commissioner issued no objection to the road, which was proposed by the builders to link their luxury villa site with the bypass road. If you ever notice, the area is covered with a thick population of Deodar trees and the spot of construction is visible from popular spots of Shimla city. The NOC given to 6,650 square meter land in a thick forest for building luxury apartments is in itself a violation.
Even the opposition proposed a spot inspection so that the matter could be resolved in a single day. When the controversy gained attention in Vidhan Sabha, the respected Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Mr. Prem Kumar Dhumal ordered an enquiry into the matter referring it for a review to Vidhan Sabha Committee. However, all the reports were found ok, no violation of rules was found, and the permission was granted under 118 of HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act for free sale. Well, we can’t be sure, but there are a few coincident, which raise big questions. First, that the Bemloe is a front of DLF builders, biggest real estate firm of India, and second is that Robert Vadra, partners with DLF, is the son & law of the ruling United Progressive Alliance coalition chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Moved by a great concern for environment and the fate of Shimla’s greenery, we couldn’t ignore the matter, like it was ignored by the government and by so called guardians of laws. Himachal Watcher visited the construction site of DLF’s luxury apartments in order to measure its impact on forest. What we observed was shocking and stunned us. We have uploaded 50 images, depicting a cruel massacre, with this article.
While we walked towards the construction site, we found that the small path, which was initially used to go through the forest by local residents, was widened by cutting the hill to make a way for heavy vehicles, so that the transportation of construction materials could be facilitated. We can’t say how many trees, which blocked their way, disappeared during that period, but the condition of those near to the road is very poor. Due to the cutting of hill, great amount of soil was removed. While protection of trees was not an important issue, it was done very brutally. Wounds on many trees were still fresh, which the Jaws of JCB gave them and many others are ready to fall a victim to the planned slow killing.
Many trees are losing grip on the ground as the soil has been removed over their roots and it’s certain that next rain season will witness falling of many trees, which will not be questioned as it occurred due natural calamities. Have a look at the pictures carefully and you’ll see roots of trees, which are either cut down or hanging out and have dried.
When we reached the construction site, the work was in progress with great enthusiasm, which we never witnessed when such a construction work has been commission under a government policy related to the welfare of the public. We wonder if someone can find such a great patch without a single tree in the middle of a dense forest. There is a picture and video that shows trunk of tree partially visible while the JCB is at work. We wonder, who buried it in the middle of construction site? Moreover, when the apartments will be ready and sold, it is obvious that the road to these luxury apartments will widened to make a smooth way for the exotic vehicles of the wealthy owners of these luxury villas. We fear the forest will suffer a lot in future too.
It’s not the first time such an act of violation took place in Himachal. In a similar case, 1,000 trees were axed in Solan for a project belonging to Optima Constructions, which was granted permission without any concern for the agriculture land.
HW requests all the citizens to show concern for their motherland and unite to stand against such monopolistic acts of government before they destroy the beauty and peace of our wonderful Shimla. We are ignoring the obvious flaws in our political and economical culture and as a result of that most of the people in India are suffering from poverty, unemployment, and corruption. Don’t wait for some leader to take initiative, but be the first to initiate. By tolerating and ignoring the oblivious flaws in our system, we are promoting the culture of corruption. Anyone can criticize, but initiative for reforms is the last thing in our minds.