Haryana's forest department has given a nod to cutting of 256 trees for the widening of the road dividing Sectors 17 and 18. The road widening work, worth Rs 5.9 crore, is an attempt to decongest the 2.2-km-stretch connecting IFFCO Chowk and old Delhi-Gurgaon road. It will be carried out by Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). The forest department agreed on the condition that compensatory planting of trees will be carried out by HUDA.
The decision was taken after residents of IFFCO colony and Sector 17 had been raising concern over traffic snarls on the busy stretch. Representatives of Sector 17 RWA had met Traffic Police Commissioner and HUDA Administrator to resolve the traffic issues. Later, HUDA had approached the forest department and received a go-ahead.
Environmentalists, however, are not too happy with the forest department's decision, keeping the rising pollution levels in the city. They condemned the department's permission to fell the trees, which would take years to compensate.
“IFFCO Chowk is one of the most polluted areas in Gurgaon," said Vivek Kamboj, a city-based environmentalist. "Trees are important around the junction. They help purify air. The move will ensure that the road is decongested, but at a massive cost.”
City Spidey met Vasvi Tyagi, district forest officer (DFO), to discuss the issue.
“The forest department is aware of the approval given to fell trees on the Sector 17/18 stretch. The permission was given to HUDA only after the department reviewed their plan of compensatory aforestation,” said Tyagi.
In the plan submitted to the forest department on May 16, the authority had promised to compensate the tree felling by planting ten times the total number of trees felled. Saplings will be planted around Chandu Budhera water treatment plant, around 20 kilometres from Gurgaon.
The residents are happy about the fact that the road will soon be decongested.
Harshawardhan, a resident of IFFCO colony, often gets late for work as he gets struck in traffic right outside the colony. “I am happy that we will finally get rid of these traffic snarls. I am fed up of being stuck in a traffic mess daily. Commuters moving towards sector 18 from sector 17 or IFFCO colony have to wait for several hours just to reach the opposite side of the road.”