Mussoorie, July 9 : Mussorie that was once known for its greenery all around, today presents a dismal picture. Residents complain of rampant and large scale felling of trees taking place due to the growing charm among locals for concrete buildings.
In 1826, Mussorie was full of trees and shrubs. Over the years , it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations with nearly 20 lakh (two million) visitors arriving here every year for holidaying.
In India, there are many hill stations like Shillong, Mahabaleshwar, Ooty and Mount Abu, which have maintained ample open spaces and retained the old charm unlike Mussorie that has miserably failed to retain its original beauty.
Real estate developers have been bursting rocks for constructing structures, and in the process, destroyed Mussoorie's natural charm.
And, this has converted Mussouri, the hill station, into a dry place.
"There were a lot of greenery and trees all over the place. Nowadays, the trees are disappearing while construction work is increasing.Earlier, Rajpur and Mussoorie's top hill used to experience snowfall whereas today it hardly snows here. Looking at the condition of Mussoorie, we are very disappointed as buildings have replaced trees," said Pawan Lakehra, one resident.
During the British Raj, when Captain Young established the first residential building now known as Malingar, there were 88 natural water sources in Mussoorie. Today, there number stands at 10!
"I've seen a lot of change here in Mussoorie. It used to be a very good place with ample forest cover. I think most of the trees for the sake of building are being cut and you find concrete structures everywhere. Trees are dying as a result of which climate is affected. Besides rare snowfall here, there is water problem, and improper sanitation," said D. Vegas, the Principal of Mussoorie Modern School.
"The problem is likely to worsen if the trees are cut down in other places too," he added.
"Our forefathers had given us a beautiful nature and we want to give the same to our children. If each individual bears this thought in mind, the misuse of nature will not occur. People are becoming selfish and money minded. All they think is ways to make money even at the cost of cutting down trees and turning hills into plains," said Jagdish Babla, environmentalist.
Looking at the present scenario the authorities and even the tourists feel that if the deterioration of natural beauty of Mussoorie continues at the present rate, the day is not far off when this fascinating hill station may be a memory. By Ashish Goel