Save Trees: Is it wise to plan a complex in a 7,914 square meter area with a high density of trees?

The new complex of Irrigation and Public Health Headquarters on Shimla bye-pass was planned in an area which requires clearing of near about 40-50 trees
While we witness the violation of 118 of HP Land Reforms and Tenancy Act, 1972 and cry over the grave of hundreds of trees in Kanlog Shimla, the government have again come out with a troublesome plan.Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister laid foundation stone of a new complex of Irrigation and Public Health Headquarters on Shimla bye-pass on 9th of July 2012, that is estimated to be built in an area of 7,914 square meter, which also have a 4,319 square meter parking, that is enough for approximately 80 light vehicles. The project is estimated to cost Rs. 24.03 crore.

That means another 40 to 50 trees are sure to be sacrificed to make space for the new government office building. We already know HPSEB, who has been helping deforestation by damaging trees with their stay wires and iron rods for streetlights. On the other hand, MC Shimla used these trees efficiently to serve well for nailing unauthorized private and party hoardings/billboards. In addition to ignoring the environmental issues in Shimla, the public too have contributed by setting the forest on fires every summer.

We wonder, wethere isn’t it a better idea to chose a location for buildings that require least cutting of trees. Have a look at the photographs. The density of trees in the area is high and there are many other places in Shimla with lesser tree density. May be perhaps those lands are being booked for private firms to avoid controversy that we witnessed in DFL’s luxury villa site. Moreover, for the construction of new ISBT, the area was cleared and many trees were axed. However, the location was suitable and had lesser tree density and the project can be justified as it was for the development of public transport.But, choosing another site for construction in the same area sounds idiotic as it can cause a great damage to the environment by reducing the density of the forest. Every tree is precious and the developed countries have already realized it and are promoting ‘save trees’ attitude.

Please spare some time to think about the change in the pattern of snowfall in Shimla. According to a study conducted by Meteorological Department, the snowfall has constantly been eluding during the last two decades. In 1991, Shimla witnessed 49 cm of snowfall on Christmas’ Eve and it was the last time it happened, except 2010. The Christmas Eve is no more white now.

Further, another study published in the Journal of Agro-meteorology concludes that the average overall precipitation from December to March has dropped from 283.9 mm (1991 to 2001) to 235.1 mm (2002 to 2010-11) and the percentage of snowfall to the total precipitation has declined to 30 from 39. Now the month of December is no more the favorite of tourists,rather the snowfall trend has changed to February. During 1994-1995 the average number of days with snowfall was recorded to be 20 days and now it has dropped dramatically to 8.2 days. If we talk about the interval between the first and last snowfall, which dropped down from 58.6 days during1991-2000 to 44 days during 2001 – 2011, then the issue sounds more serious than you would expect. The study holds deforestation as one of the main reason for all the climatic mess up. in Shimla

The increase in the number of vehicles on road, which run on fossil fuels,has caused greater carbon emission in Shimla and government’s careless and corrupt practices are making it more drastic by clearing the forests.Each and every tree is precious and the present deforestation rate in Shimla poses a great risk to the natural beauty and the pleasant climate of Shimla. We doubt, our next generation would see snow clad mountains anddeep forest in pictures only.

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