Surrounding the trees at Parade Ground
Three months after the initial attempts at cutting 250 trees around Parade Ground, the City Administration, Sunday evening, made another attempt at cutting the trees. Oblivious of the popular opposition to unbridled tree felling and questionable logic behind the widening of roads around Parade Ground, a Saharanpur based Contractor, with 15 labourers felled 8 trees in half an hour before shocked shop keepers and passer-by’s realized what was happening.
As news spread, shopkeepers from Indira market, Tibetan Market and those adjoining the trees started protesting. Members of Citizens For Green Doon also reached the site and surrounded the remaining trees and seized the tools of the workers. They were soon joined by members of Friends of Doon, Citizens Action Group and Uttarakhand Khilari Sangharsh Samiti. Slogans against the BJP led City and State government were raised. That the tree felling was being conducted right next to the State BJP office was commented upon by numerous people.
Murdering a tree
Taliban Style Execution
“Ironically, the Forest Department is conduction a Van Mela in Rangers College, across the street while permitting unnecessary tree felling here” said Anjali Bhatia, an environmental activist. Fuming with anger Rita, a shopkeeper in Indira Bazaar, who was among the first to reach the spot said that the contractor’s men started cutting the trunks of all the eight trees as soon as they came, so that by the time people reacted there was no option but to fell the trees as they become unstable and would have fallen on people.
People on the spot surrounded the Contractor, Mumtaz, and urged him to return to Saharanpur. “Please do not make Dehradun like Saharanpur” said Dr Bhim Pandhi, Patron of Indian Medical Association. “We request you with folded hands not to destroy our green trees” he added. Protesters demanded the contractor show them the written orders for cutting, which he was unable to do. This angered the crowd further and tempers were raised.
Surrounding the contractor from Saharanpur "Mumtaz"
Mr. MM Baijwan, Forestor, who reached the spot was surrounded by the public and questioned. Claiming he was unsure of who gave the permission for cutting these trees, he called his superior, a Forest Ranger, who said that this was ordered by the City Administration and carried out by contractors. He requested those opposing the tree felling to approach the DM of Dehradun.
“People of Dehradun will not let anyone cut these trees, under any circumstance.” said Himanshu Arora, a businessman. “The only way they can do it will be by declaring a curfew and under heavy police presence. Even then, an average Doonite will protest. Don’t the BJP leaders realize that they are following unpopular policies? I voted for BJP in the last elections, and I hope I will not regret my vote”
What were once green trees :-(
People gradually left the site of tree felling, after ensuring all the contractors workers had departed. “We will meet the DM tomorrow to protest the unnecessary felling of these trees” declared Dr. Kuldeep Dutta, member of Citizens Action Group and a leading cardiologist of Dehradun.
Brave Tree Huggers with seized weapons of contractor
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