A Gurdaspur-based NGO has claimed that the Municipal Committee (MC) has axed nearly 40 trees in the environment-friendly Fish Park area of the city.
Janak Raj Sharma, head of ‘Green Education’, the NGO trying to save trees, said recently the MC, on orders of the Deputy Commissioner (DC), cut trees leading to resentment among the environmentalists and residents. The Fish Park area is flooded with people who walk and exercise in the morning and evenings.
The NGO’s allegations were denied by Deputy Commissioner Vipul Ujwal who claimed that the cutting of trees was necessitated by the fact that the area had to be “developed in a planned manner.”
“In any case, I have asked the MC officials to plant an equal number of trees to replace the axed ones. Moreover, the trees felled are of eucalyptus which is not environment friendly. It is not wise to continue eucalyptus plantations in the larger interests of protecting the groundwater.
It is a fact that this variety tends to lower the groundwater level. The eucalyptus tree is actually an environmental disaster. This variety is accused of depleting groundwater resources, creating fire, encouraging soil erosion and deterring the native flora with voracious roots,” said the DC.
Janak Raj Sharma said the tree variety was not as bad as was being made out to be.
“The administration will be doing yeoman’s service to the residents if it plans to plant trees equal in number to the ones cut by it. However, in future, it should plant trees in advance if it has to cut the trees in the name of development. Trees give us oxygen and without them, there would be very little to soak up carbon dioxide and cleanse the air,”he said.