Nagpur: Activists protest against plan to fell 4,930 trees

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Nagpur, Jun 5 (PTI)Some environment activists and citizens in Nagpur held a silent protestin the city on Saturday against the plan to cut down 4,930 trees in Ajni area for a project.

The protest coincided with the World Environment Day.

These trees are proposed to be axed for the Inter Modal Station (IMS), ajoint venture between Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

On May 29, the garden department of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) had issued in newspaper notice about the proposed felling of 4,930 trees to carry out the project, and invited suggestions and objections.

A PIL was filed by Swacch Association in the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on June 1 against the proposed felling of trees. The petitioner has prayed the courtto direct the NHAIto obtain prior environment clearance for the project.

Talking to PTI, environment activist Kunal Maurya, who is part of the 'Save Ajni Vann' campaign said that from December last year, silent protests, 'chipko' movement and signature drive, were being carried out against the move.

'After the NMC's notification this week, we launched an online petition against the felling of trees wherein 10000 people have signed the online petition. Similarly, NMC has so far received more than 200 objection letters,' he said.

Activist Jaydeep Das said, 'It is a black Environment Day for Nagpur today, because we are losing trees. The IMS project needs to be shifted.' A silent protest was observed at Sanvidhan square against the proposed felling of trees, he said, adding that COVID-19 protocols were observed during it.

The NHAI is investing Rs 1,200 crore into the first phase and railways is also providing its land for the project.

The project is spread over 44 acres and will have seven platforms, three subways, three air concourse, escalators, 163 bays, waiting areas, restaurants, VIP lounges, among other things, officials said.

In January this year, Union minister Nitin Gadkari had said in a press conference that the IMS would cater to over three lakh passengers per day with easy accessibility from the city via roads, metro, intra city buses, as well as forms of non-motorised transport. PTI CLS NP NP

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