700 heritage trees auctioned for Rs 50 lakh revenue
Selling The Priceless
What has been iconic about the Boulevard, the heritage trees along the lake Dal banks are all set to be axed as the state government has auctioned them for “revenue generation”, which is feared to doom the priceless ambience.
Some 700 old trees including willows and poplars are to be chopped down. The state expects to earn Rs 50 lakh revenue from the “massacre”, which will strip City’s tourist hub of its priceless looks, all the times magnificent even in the Dal reflections.
After allowing recent chopping down of trees including Chinars near the City center on the MA Link Road this is the latest from the PDP led coalition government.
MM Rather Regional Director Social Forestry while confirming the development said chopping down of these trees was in “public interest”. “This is a good decision of the government. It will get rid of nuisance like pollen which poplars spew,” he said. When told that the Boulevard trees are not Russian poplars but local specie planted decades ago, he said “still they are a problem”.
Asked for reason to chop down majestic willows, he said that too was need of the hour. “In such strip plantation all mature trees are to be removed and this is why we have to remove them all.”
The Social Forestry department plans to plant conifers instead which will take decades to grow. Obviously by then the locale is feared to look nude, ugly.
People associated with tourism and ecology are up in arms over the development. “This is environmental catastrophe that will destroy the landscape of a ecologically sensitive ecosystem,” said an environmentalist.
But the government says the plan is “well researched”. “People don’t know technicalities. These are research based issues,” said Regional Director Social Forestry.
District Development Commissioner Farooq Ahmed Lone said the matter has come to his notice. “We have asked them that the process be relooked,” Lone told .
He said the district administration has shot a letter to the concerned. “These are majestic, native, avenue trees. In our opinion this development is undesirable from ecological, forest and tourism point of view,” he said.