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Uttarakhand

Posted at: Apr 15, 2017, 12:32 AM; last updated: Apr 15, 2017, 12:32 AM (IST)WIDENING UTTARKASHI-GANGOTRI HIGHWAY

Environmentalists oppose felling of deodar trees

Environmentalists oppose felling of deodar trees
Environmentalists Suresh Bhai (second from right), Dr Ravi Chopra (extreme right) and Radhan Behn address mediapersons in Dehradun on Friday.

Tribune News Service

Dehradun, April 14

Environmentalists have expressed deep concern over the proposed felling of a large number of deodar trees for widening the Uttarkashi-Gangotri highway in the ecologically fragile Gangotri region of Uttarakhand.

Addressing a press conference in Dehradun today, environmentalist Suresh Bhai said it was strange that while the Central Government’s Namami Gangey project envisaged planting 30,000 tree saplings for improving the quality of Ganga waters, around 10,000 deodar trees were proposed to be felled in the very Gangotri region that has origins of Ganga for widening the Uttarkashi- Gangotri highway.

Suresh Bhai said the Uttarkashi-Gangtori highway was now being further widened to 18-24 metres. “The highway widening is a grave threat to the environment of the region and will serve no practical purpose,” he asserted.

Joining the issue, Indira Gandhi Environment Award recipient Radha Behn said temperatures had already seen a rise in Gangotri region in recent years and felling of such a large number of trees would further impact the climate. “The felling of trees at such an ecologically sensitive region can have disastrous consequences and could be an invitation to disasters,” Radha Behn pointed out.

Biju Negi, who is credited with promoting organic farming in Uttarakhand hills, said the construction of all-weather roads kept little sense if it was done at the cost of the environment. He said glaciers in the Himalayas were already receding speedily and felling of trees would further lead to rising temperatures affecting adversely the entire ecosystem. Environmentalist Dr Ravi Chopra said development at the cost of environment was not acceptable. He said unplanned development could not do good to people.

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