The National Green Tribunal has taken strong note of indiscriminate cutting of trees for various road widening projects in Punjab and restrained public authorities from felling trees in the entire state without its “specific permission”.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar expressed concern over indiscriminate chopping of trees and asked the state government to apprise it about the extent of afforestation done by state government in the last five years.
“We hereby restrain the State of Punjab, any project proponent, various authorities and Departments of State of Punjab from felling and cutting of any tree in the entire State of Punjab without specific permission of the Tribunal.
“The State of Punjab shall also state before us as to the extent of afforestation done by the State in the last 5 years, year wise, district wise and scheme wise and state as to how many trees have been felled in various part of the State together with survival thereof,” the bench said.
It also directed Punjab government to produce the original records pertaining to the grant of permission for felling trees particularly with respect to Nawanshahr and Jalandhar districts.
“The Tree Authority or a senior Officer of the State Government shall also be present before the Tribunal on the next date of hearing. The affidavit on the above lines would be filed by the Principal Secretary of the concerned Department of the State of Punjab,” the bench added.
The matter is now listed for next hearing on July 8.
The order came while hearing the petitions filed by Chandigarh based Peacock Environment and Wild Life Protection Society and one Dr Amandeep Aggarwal who alleged that there was reckless cutting of trees in Nawanshahr and Jalandhar districts for various road widening projects and canal banks.
The plea had claimed that there was no step being taken for afforestation by the state government and referred to a newspaper report to show that there was “unscientific” removal of trees and huge trees were thrown on the road side.
( Source – PTI )