RTI reply – No trees planted in lieu of those cut for widening of roads
As per a reply provided by the National Highway Authority of India's (NHAI) to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, it has come to light that not a single tree has been planted in lieu of the trees felled for road widening works in Coimbatore district. It has been reported that about 951 trees were axed in the past five years as a part of road widening work. It has also been revealed that the NHAI earned Rs. 37,21,950/- from the sale of the trees. Currently about, 7,177 trees now stand on both sides of the 105.4 km long national highways that pass through Coimbatore.
As per the law, the agency that cuts down trees as part of developmental works is expected to plant thrice its number to compensate the loss.
In the recent years, trees have been cut down on a large scale in the country for developmental work like road widening works. There is a need for systematic look on the effect of such cutting down of trees and a comprehensive evaluation whether the norms of planting three trees in place of one which has been cut is being fulfilled.