TURA | Jan 22:
In what could be termed as a complete disregard for the environment, over 7000 trees are currently being mowed down along the NH 51 to widen the road, making it a 2-lane highway (54 kms) connecting Tura to the border town of Dalu in West Garo Hills.
The road, which is being constructed under the supervision of National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), is progressing at breakneck speeds with earth cutting as well as felling of trees taking on a war footing. Initial metalling on some sections has also been done, though a lot of work still remains.
The entire road is now strewn completely with cut trees and branches, which are also being cleared quickly. The felling of the trees is being supervised by the state forest department with depots being set up to accommodate the huge numbers. A huge section of the trees that are being felled are of high value (sal and teak).
The trees that are being felled fall under non forest areas, outside the purview of the department.
“It is sad to see so many trees being cut but then we also need the road. We are helping in cutting the trees and storing them in depots. The entire stock belongs to NHIDCL as they have paid royalty for the entire road and its stock,” said DFO Western Range, Sachin Gavade.
Gavade added that once tree felling complete, the stock would be auctioned by the NHIDCL in conjunction with the state forest department.
He also added that post completion of road construction, a request has been made to the NHIDCL to plant at least double the number of trees that have been cut.
“It’s a part of their CSR activity as well so we will see plantation of a huge number of saplings to compensate for the loss of forest. That is at least some heartening news,” added the officer.