RTI Impact - PIL filed against highways department for loss of green cover
The reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has exposed the failure of National Highways Department to compensate for over a thousand trees felled in past three years for road expansion in Coimbatore.
The reply to the application states that during 2010-11 and 2011-12, 898 trees were removed along National Highway No. 67 and 43 trees were felled along National Highway No. 209 within Coimbatore. Similarly, 86 trees were removed along NH 67 and 53 along NH 209 for road expansion and improvement works in the year 2012-13 by the department. According to the data provided in the reply, the felling of trees fetched a revenue of Rs. 37,21,950 to the Highways Department. However, not even a single sapling was planted or maintained during past five years by the department to compensate for the removal of over thousand trees.
In this regard, the applicant has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Madras High Court seeking action against the concerned ministries, departments and officials for failing to comply with the court directives about planting saplings thrice the number of trees felled so as to compensate for loss of green cover.