Tuesday, April 12, 2016
87K TREES NEED TO BE PLANTED ON B’NGIR ROADSIDES Tuesday, 12 April 2016 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
87K TREES NEED TO BE PLANTED ON B’NGIR ROADSIDES
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
While widening of roads is welcomed by people as it accelerates process of faster communication and helps bring economic development of a region, yet the felling of a large number of trees, most of them over 30 years’ old, are not tolerated in Balangir district as they damage the ecology system.
According to official sources, widening work has been taken up on four roads, Balangir-Sonepur road, Balangir-Patnagarh-Kantabanji-Chandotora, Balangiri-Salebhata and Balangir-Belgaon road.
However forest approval for felling of roadside trees on Bolangir-Belgaon road has not been given.
As per the rules, one tree has to be planted in every four metre gap on both sides of the road. Likewise, about 10,000 trees on along the Balangir -Sonepur road up to Bairsar, 57,000 trees along the Balangir-Patnagarh-Kantabanji-Chandotatra road and 20, 000 trees along the Balangir-Salebhata road needs to be planted as a compensatory measure.
The executing agency has submitted a proposal to the Forest Department stating that it would carry out plantation of 10 times the number trees to be felled and look after their maintenance for the next 10 years.
For example, 417 trees were felled along the road from Balangir to Patharcheap and against these 4,170 trees needs to be planted. From this one could imagine the number of trees to be planted throughout the district as road expansion is going on almost all parts of it.
According to a forest official, felling of old trees are a great loss as nowadays survival of trees has become more difficult in view of high temperature, uncertain rainfall and many other factors. The short-term plantation plan only adds to the problem, he said.
According to sources, from along the Boudh-Sonepur road, huge numbers of old trees were cut. Though roadside plantation was taken up, they would be felled again in 10 years or so when the road is converted into four-lane for faster increase in vehicles.
For example, though roadside plantation was taken up along the Lathore-Komana road in 2013-14, they, numbering around 2000, were cut again as road expansion work was taken up after a year.
Similarly while doubling work of Titilagarh -Samblapur railway line was undertaken, around 2,000 trees were felled. The compensatory afforestation undertaken by railway authorities is not up to the desired level, said another forest official.
While it takes 50 minutes or even less to cut a 40-50-year-old tree, it requires herculean effort of minimum one and a half decades to grow a tree to a minimum height.
There is even no serious planning for compensatory afforestation.
“After a road widening work was completed, we took up plantation on the roadside. However, we faced the problem of planting trees on private land. People opposed it. There should be adequate space for tree plantation where ever road widening or expansion is taken up. All roads should be designed for four-lane and adequate space should be earmarked for plantation of trees,” said another forest official here.
Already the forest cover in the district is declining rapidly. Only 14 per cent of the total area is under forest cover. With absence of 87,000 trees on roadsides, Balangir is heading for serious ecological disaster. Planning should be made in such a way that newly planted trees need not be cut again when further expansion is taken up, suggested an environmentalist.