Andaman administration refutes media reports on cutting of trees

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Port Blair, Dec 29 (UNI) The Andaman and Nicobar administration has refuted the reports published in various local newspapers regarding cutting of trees to prepare a helipad for President Pratibha Patil's visit to the islands at the Wandoor beach here.

In a hurried clarification notice, the administration said on the basis of the report received from the local Air Force Authorities, requiring clearance of obstacles, including trees in the funnel area of the Wandoor helipad, the Environment and Forests department had given no objection to the Andaman PWD to remove and prune some trees to facilitate safe and free movement of helicopters.

''Cutting these trees will not create any environmental damage as these trees are mostly Casuarina species, which were planted primarily to beautify the beach,'' the notice added.

Meanwhile, the Port Blair Press Club condemned the ''clarification notice'' issued by the administration against the media reports.

''Local Journalists have clicked photographs of several trees, a few nearly 100 years old, cut down in the Port Blair region for the President's visit,'' Port Blair Press Club president K Ganeshan told UNI.

''We are taking up this matter with other bigger NGOs from the rest of the country,'' secretary of the Society of Andaman and Nicobar Ecology Samir Acharya told UNI.

Meanwhile, President Pratibha Patil yesterday planted a casaurina sapling in the Wandoor area, where nearly 60 trees were cut down by the administration to facilitate her helicopter's landing.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan had sought a clarification from the Andaman and Nicobar administration on media reports claiming that trees were cut ahead of the President's visit to Car Nicobar.

While seeking the clarification, the President had also directed the local administration to ''undertake compensatory plantation immediately of trees cut or removed.'' UNI

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