Where have they gone?
Members of Citizens For Green Doon on Sunday staged a dharna in front of Capri Trade Center in Cannought Place to press for an enquiry in the alleged illegal felling of 11 trees in the area in 2006. They were joined in the dharna by members of Green Force, Connaught Place traders association and auto drivers association. According to the participants at the Dharna, the staff of Forest Department had cut down 11 green trees in Connaught place in 2006 despite protests by the local residents and now an RTI application with the Forest Department has revealed that after 2003 no permission was given for tree felling in the area. Therefore, the felling of trees in 2006 by the staff of Forest Department was blatantly illegal.
Speaking at the gathering, Dr Nitin Pandey said that it is unimaginable that the DFO would not know that his own staff is felling these trees without his permission, since Chakrata Road is only a few hundred yards from his office. Daily so many officers pass through Chakrata Road and it is not possible that no one of them noticed such a blatant illegal act. This along with so many other incidents in the recent past has shown that either the Forest Department is either incapable or does not want to do its job properly. Instead of hauling up the DFO for his acts of omissions the Forest Department has recently promoted him.
Photos of 2006 showing the felling
Slogans against the DFO and Forest Department and calls for setting up an inquiry in the issue and punishing the guilty were raised. "Citizens of Doon must now wake up before it is too late and this beautiful valley is turned into a desert" asserted Anjali Bhatia, an environmental activist. "Everyone must stop blindly walking by and not realizing that their city is being plundered" she added. Mr. Atul Sharma, a teacher from Vikas Nagar, said that it is the duty of everyone to protect their city from this senseless destruction. He said that CFGD will not let this loot go unchallenged. Mr. Raj Kanwar, a renowned journalist, had tears in his eyes as he recalled the beautiful tree which existed at the spot of the Dharna. He said that it breaks his heart every time he drives down the "developed" Chakrata Road. Apparently for authorities development only means turning a place into a concrete lifeless place.
Mr. Anil Baloni, President of Green Force, said that if such daylight dacoities were happening in the heart of the Capital of Uttarakhand, then the situation in the periphery of the State, is unimaginable. He called upon the forest department to do its duty with sincerity.
Participants displayed banners and photographs, taken in 2006, of the forest department workers who were seen cutting the trees in the area.
Among the participants were Laksha Mehta, Ira Chauhan, Himanshu Arora, Anish Lal, Renuka Jalota, Vineeta Bhardwaj, Dr SP Bhatt, Rishab Mittal, Harninder Singh, Shubhendra Singh & Mrs. Krishna Sharma.
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