Nagpur : A letter highlighting civic body’s plans to fell 500 trees for constructing a temporary road from Bharat Nagar to Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran’s (MJP) office near Telangkhedi Hanuman Temple was treated as PIL by the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court. On Wednesday, a division bench comprising Justice Rav Deshpande and Justice Vinay Joshi, the letter was send by environmental activist Jaydeep Das, appointed Kartik Shukul as amicus curiae in the case and asked him to draft a comprehensive petition.
Das’ Letter was based on a news which which highlighted MahaMetro and Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s (NMC) plans to construct a temporary road. He also dispatched his letter to Union environment minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, mayor Nanda Jichkar, MahaMetro managing director Brijesh Mishra, PDKV vice-chancellor VM Bhale and DCP (traffic) Raj Tilak Roushan. The proposed road would pass through a lush green patch on Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth’s (PDKV) land, which would involve unnecessary felling of over 500 fully grown trees.
The decision was taken as the regular road would be closed for about a year for traffic to pave way for construction of an amphitheatre on Telangkhedi Lake.
Expressing anguish and frustration over the decision-making process of the authorities, which he termed as “naive”, the activist accused them of committing murder of 500 trees ignoring the fact that city’s green cover was already depleting. “They neither conducted any study nor came up with a feasibility report before arriving on the decision to construct the road by sacrificing trees,” he wrote in the letter.
Das, who was planning to file a PIL, claimed that the trees and the entire area were a habitat of various animals and bird species. Das clarified that an alternate route is available through Ravi Nagar which was at a distance of just 500m from the proposed road and that road could be expanded instead of disturbing the green cover by felling years old trees
He also questioned the decision to waste Rs 112 crore on the new road, which was taxpayers’ hard earned money, that too for a temporary period. Das, also honorary wildlife warden, questioned PDKV’s decision to allow the road when it has a reputation to oppose plans to acquire its land for any developmental project. He prayed to authorities to review their decision.