Voices from IIOJK

Over 1 lakh trees worth Rs 13.76 crore axed for Srinagar Ring Road

Srinagar, July 15 (KMS): In utter disregard of the fragile environment of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the National Highway Authority of India has chopped down more than 1.10 lakh private trees of different species purportedly to lay down the Srinagar Ring Road.

The trees of apple, plum, pear, peach, walnut, mulberry, Chinar among other types uprooted and felled by the NHAI valued at 13.76 crore rupees, an RTI reply has revealed.

Pertinently, land for the ring road project has been acquired from farmers on the basis of laws that have been repealed due to the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019. The farmers say that the authorities are not even giving them a chance to transplant their fruit trees. Also, they say that they have not been compensated according to current rates.

The response received by RTI activist Raman Sharma from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on his queries said over 1,200 more private trees which form the lush green cover of the Valley will be chopped down in the coming days to build the new tarmac around Srinagar.

The 42.10 km project with a cost of Rs 939.41 crore was awarded by the NHAI to a private company on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode in 2018. The ring road and bypass project traversing through 52 villages and five districts, including Pulwama, Badgam, Baramulla, Srinagar and Bandipora, was to be built in 36 months.

As part of the similar 58.25 km-long ring road project in Jammu, 5,707 trees of Chir, Garna, Kamala, Ber, Shisham, Parli, Amla among others will be axed, the RTI said.

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