Stop mindless cutting of trees, relocate them: Punjab & Haryana High Court

Chandigarh, September 10: In a landmark judgment that may bring cheers to the environmentalists all over India, the High Court of Punjab And Haryana at Chandigarh on last Friday gave order to relocate the trees instead of mindless cutting in the name of development.

The verdict was announced by the division bench comprising of Hon'ble acting Chief Justice Asutosh Mohunta and Hon'ble Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu.

The Court ordered to expeditiously implement the suggestion put forth by the petitioner Ashwani Kumar Joshi, a merchant navy officer-turned-Environmentalist & social crusader.

The petitioner 'Go Green International Organization', the brain child of its First founder Ashwani Kumar Joshi, through its council Advocate Dinesh Nagar through a legal notice on November 27, 2013 , had sent various suggestions to adopt relocation method to avoid axing; to the respondents State of Punjab, State of Haryana and UT Chandigarh.

Judicial order comes as booster dose for the Departments of Forest & Environment

"Only the State of Haryana responded where as others did not care to even reply", said Advocate Dinesh Nagar.

Following this, civil writ petition was filed which highlighted the emergency need of saving existing healthy trees by planning relocation instead of axing them while widening of roads and other development projects.

"Today when the world have suitable machinery and expertise to lift and relocate even big trees, why we are cutting them mindlessly? Why deprive the life on Earth of natural existing environment benefits? The trees are natural resource of life giving Oxygen and do serve us as Oxygen Langers (serving free food to commoners)", said Joshi.

Petition pointed out that relocation has been successfully being implemented at many places in the world and the cost of relocating an average tree is much less than raising a fresh sapling. Cutting of a big tree denies support the all kind of life.

In the petition, special focus was made to save about 18,000 trees awaiting undue death by the axe of authorities to be engaged in widening of highway road to four lane between Ropar - Phagwara in Punjab.

Learned counsel for the petitioner Advocate Dinesh Nagar submitted that the petitioner has given some suggestions to the authorities, but the same were not considered.

After hearing the petitioner's counsel , the division bench disposed the writ petition with the direction to the respondents to consider the suggestions given by the petitioner through its legal notice and implement expediously.

GGIO's green associate Adv JK Datta from Nawanshahr said, "While road widening is a welcome move, mindless hacking of trees is not. It would be criminal to destroy so many trees in the name of development or road widening."

"Relocation cost has been assessed around Rs 1800/- per plant and extensive data was compiled by the petitioner before actually undertaking the petition project by GGIO founder, Joshi.

This judicial order comes as booster dose for the Departments of Forest & Environment, in Indian States and center to initiate amending the rule to promote tree relocation in India.

OneIndia News

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