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Krishna Goverdhan Road Project: SC orders UP government to assess ‘value of trees’ proposed for logging | India News

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NEW DELHI: On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to assess the value of the trees proposed for logging for the Krishna Goverdhan road project in Mathura, taking into account the cost of oxygen that the trees would have given to nature in its whole life.
A high court bench, headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, asked the Uttar Pradesh government about the nature and number of thousands of trees they intend to cut down and assess their age and oxygen production capacity.
The bank, seeking a report on the matter within two weeks, observed that straight tracks capable of high-speed travel on highways cause countless deaths. The supreme court asked the state if roads can be made in a ‘zig-zag’ pattern to save trees and save lives in the process.
The bank was listening to a request from the Uttar Pradesh Public Works Department (UP PWD) to cut down thousands of trees for the highway project, for which the Central Empowered Committee has already given authorization.
“It is clear that the only effect if trees are held back would be that the roads might not be straight and therefore capable of high speed travel. Such an effect may not necessarily be detrimental,” the bank observed.
In their order, the bench also noted that UP PWD assured that they will compensate by planting the same trees in another area so that there are no losses to the environment in general.
CJI Bobde said it is not possible for the court to accept compensation on mere arithmetic terms, especially when there is no forthcoming statement from Uttar Pradesh or the PWD on the nature of the trees, which are classified as shrubs or large trees.
“Also, no information is available on the age of the trees, as it is obvious that there can be no compensatory reforestation if a 100-year-old tree is felled,” the bank said.
The court noted that Aishwarya Bhati, an additional attorney general appearing in Uttar Pradesh, did not make a statement as to which forest department intends to assess the trees in question.
“Clearly, they cannot do it in terms of wood, but they must adopt an assessment method that takes into account the oxygen-producing capacity of the particular tree over the remaining life span, assuming it can be cut now,” the bank commented. .
Lead attorney and amicus curiae ADN Rao briefed the court on the ‘net present value’ method for tree valuation, after which the court asked the Uttar Pradesh government to investigate.
“The Uttar Pradesh government must determine the total number of trees that will be cut down for road construction. It is clear that the only effect of retaining the trees would be that the roads are not straight and therefore able to travel to high speed. Such an effect may not necessarily be detrimental, “the bank said in its order approved today.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government also requested the permission of the Supreme Court to establish a leather park for the leather industry near Agra. The bank headed by CJI Bobde gave petitioner and environmentalist MC Mehta three months to inspect the proposed leather park site nearby. Agra and submit a report.
The bank said MC Mehta, who is the main petitioner and amicus curiae in the case, has not been able to inspect the area and present his report on the matter due to Covid-19.
The lawyer for the Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Corporation stated that if the delay is due to travel logistics problems, the government can facilitate Mehta in terms of transportation and accommodation. The Chief Justice said that Mehta has raised no such problem.
The bank heard a request from environmentalist MC Mehta regarding the protection of the Taj Mahal, the fragile ecosystem that surrounds it, and construction in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ), an “eco-sensitive area” that has four heritage sites. world. including the Taj Mahal.
The TTZ, established on December 30, 1996 to protect the Taj Mahal from contamination through an order of the Supreme Court, is an area of ​​10,400 square kilometers distributed in the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and the Bharatpur district. from Rajasthan.

Times of India

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