SC is asking the government to consider options before cutting trees for highway projects
The Apex court pointed out that it was formulating guidelines for felling trees for the purpose of carrying out motorway projects.
The petitioners, Arpita Saha and the Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights, challenged the decision to cut trees worth Rs. 2.2 billion for the Setu Bharatam project. A committee appointed by the court submitted this assessment.
This is an ongoing project in West Bengal for which several trees are being felled.
The bank felt that the government must look at other alternatives before planting the trees for road and highways construction.
While addressing the issue, the bank also indicated that it could set up a panel of experts that would not only formulate guidelines for the same thing, but would also evaluate the trees that were cut down by developing a reforestation scheme.
The bank also noted that the value of trees needs to be calculated based on their contribution to the environment, not just the wood they provide. It was also stated that certain species and aged trees should not be felled.
The West Bengal government attorney stated that the assessment was inappropriate and hypothetical and that a total of 306 trees would be felled. Interestingly, the evaluation made by the committee estimated that 4,000 trees had been felled.
In this project 5 railway bridges would be built over a distance of six kilometers.
The bank asked the supporters appearing for the petitioner to suggest names of the people who could make up the committee. The bank wanted to consider the matter for future events as well. The bank announced the matter for the next week.