21,585 trees to be axed for four-laning of Parwanoo-Solan stretch on NH-22
SOLAN- With the plantation in lieu of axing trees for four-laning of the Parwanoo-Solan stretch on the National Highway-22 yet to begin, the axing of thousands of trees will have severe impact on the climate in the area.
As many as 21,585 trees valued about Rs 8.75 crore will be axed for the first phase of four-laning the Parwanoo-Solan stretch of the NH-22. Tree felling is already under way and a time-frame of 90 days has been accorded to the contractor to complete the process.
The National Highways Authority of India has deposited Rs 3.02 crore for plantation with the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA). These funds are yet to be made available to the Forest Department to initiate afforestation activities on 131 hectares.
CAMPA is supposed to promote afforestation as a means of compensating for the diversion of forest land into non-forestry activities.
According to norms, afforestation has to be undertaken by the Forest Department on the degraded land – the size of which has to be double the forest land lost in the project. A large number of trees are being axed in the process.
Climate change expert Suresh Kumar said
Since the plantation is yet to take place, it will take several years for the plants to grow to a considerable level to mitigate the impact of environmental degradation
He added that parallel plantations should have been raised as soon as the project was approved so that by the time axing of trees was initiated, some green belt could have been created to act as a buffer.
Another issue of concern was the area where such afforestation activities would be taken up as it could mitigate the adverse environmental effects only if the sites are in the proximity of the national highway. Divisional Forest Officer, Solan, Ashok Chauhan said they would give projection for afforestation in the next financial year and this would be placed in the annual plan of the operation of the department. Funds would then be sought from CAMPA and they will initiate afforestation activities.