Centuries old chinar trees axed in city

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Srinagar:-  The Srinagar district administration has come under severe criticism for allowing the felling of Chinar’s to pave way for the construction of a flyover. The trees were felled by Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) on Tuesday near Tourist Reception Centre (TRC). ERA officials said that the chopping of trees was unavoidable.

People from different walks of life criticized the move terming it “unfortunate” and an attempt to destroy Kashmir’s identity. “The Chinars add beauty and attracting for the tourists. The felling of Chinar’s is unacceptable. Government should have worked on alternatives rather than chopping the Chinar’s. This is an inhuman act,” said a commuter.

On one hand the government is claiming that it is beautifying the Srinagar city, however, on the contrary they have chopped the Chinar’s which add to the beautiful of the Srinagar city.

Pertinently, local alleged that ERA has cut two Chinars which were more than 300-year-old.

“It is unfortunate. We have been bestowed with Chinars and we must protect them rather than cutting them down,” another local said.

Witnesses at the site said that the flyover could have been diverted to save the heritage trees.

“The trees are disappearing fast due to people’s ignorance and official apathy. Government should have diverted the flyover to some other side,” a commuter said. “Government is turning Srinagar into a desert. This government is even insensitive to trees as well.”

Meanwhile, according to a 2016 census carried out by Floriculture Department, 6398 Chinar trees are present in the city out of which 178 are semi-dry while 664 Chinars are dry and face a threat to fell. The number of live Chinars in the city according to the census is 6398.

“We have sought permission from the authorities to cut the Chinar trees as there is dire need of the flyover,” said, Director ERA Satish Rajdan

He said there was no other alternative but to cut down the Chinar trees.

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