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21 May 2019, Edition - 1407, Tuesday

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Coimbatore

Demand grows for NHAI to plant more saplings

A.T. Jahar

The number of trees felled around Avinashi Road, Trichy Road, Mettupalayam Road and Sathy Road here over a decade as part of widening should be more than 1 lakh. For each tree cut, 10 saplings have to be planted, says the court. But National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had promised to plant 55,440 saplings but has so far planted just 1,518, according to S Palaniswamy of the Tamil Nadu Farmers Association.

“District Collector TN Hariharan proposes to conduct a meeting with all the farmers and environmental activists regarding this and ensure that NHAI is planting the saplings,” he told The Covai Post.

Also, there was no detail of the expenses for felling trees and the income earned, he added.

“We are not against the growth of district by widening roads. It is recommended to cut only those trees which stand in the way of the widening activity. I don’t know if the government was benefited by this felling. I request highways department authorities to cut the trees on one side of the road either left nor right side for widening process. This will helpful save many trees,” said environmentalist M Yoganathan said.

“Saplings cannot be planted on the highways but there are places where it is possible to plant them. We must plant 10 times the number of trees felled,” he added.

City residents feel the higher mercury levels could be the result of felling trees. “Earlier, it was a happy ride on Mettupalayam Road with tamarind trees on both sides. But over the last two years heat during summer while riding a motorcycle along the road makes travel difficult,” said social activist O Moorthy.

In the last five years rainfall has been low. There is the need to plant more saplings. The government needs to take immediate action for this, said city resident K Selvaraj.

NHAI authorities said that last year more than 2,000 saplings were planted near Avinashi Road and 1,000 near Trichy Road and more would be planted soon.

The State Highway department plans to plant saplings on Government land, said Assistant Executive Engineer J Bhuvaneswaran.

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