Trees axed for widening road, residents cry foul - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Friday, August 30, 2019

Trees axed for widening road, residents cry foul


Trees axed for widening road, residents cry foul

Parvesh Sharma

Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 29

At a time when the Punjab Government is pushing for plantation of saplings across the state to celebrate the 550th Prakash Purb celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev, the axing of trees for the widening of the Moonak-Jakhal road has raised serious questions.

Irked residents, who failed to stop the cutting of trees despite their efforts, have demanded a strict departmental action against Forest Department officials concerned. On Thursday, they wrote to Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and others, including the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner, Forest Minister and Chief Secretary, seeking action. They also plan to launch an agitation, if the government fails to conduct a detailed inquiry into the incident.

“We had on our own planted saplings, but in the name of widening of the stretch, the Forest Department allowed the axing of a majority of trees along the road. We want a strict action against forest officials concerned,” said Karnail Singh, a Moonak resident.

Some other locals alleged that at many places the road could have been widened even without cutting the trees, but officials allegedly allowed axing of trees only to pocket money after selling the wood.

“I can point out many places where the trees have been axed unnecessarily. Had the authorities taken required steps, many trees could have been saved easily. Other residents and I have written a letter to the CM and other senior authorities for a high-level inquiry into the matter as it will take years to grow such a huge number of trees again,” said Jasvir Singh Kudni, Punjab secretary of AAP.

When contacted, Divisional Forest Officer, Sangrur, Vidhya Sagri said the trees were axed to widen the road.

When asked whether more trees were axed than permitted, she said, “I would check the record and if more trees have been axed than permitted, we would conduct a detailed inquiry and take appropriate action.”

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