"The beauty of Shimla lies in greenery of the forests," said former Mayor of Shimla. (Representational)
The monsoon rain, floods and landslides have led to the uprooting of hundreds of trees in the north Indian hill town Shimla. A large number of nearly 1000 Deodar trees were uprooted, over 500 dangerous trees were removed and nearly 800 such dangerous trees are still pending in the dangerous tree list of the Shimla Municipal Corporation pending application data.
The environmentalists, local residents, former mayors and deputy mayors of Shimla City accused the authorities of removing trees illegally in the name of removing dangerous trees.
Environmentalist and former deputy mayor of Shimla Municipal Corporation, Tikender Singh Panwar said that there is a need to ensure five times extra plantation from the removed trees.
"The point is who made these trees dangerous? We have made it vulnerable as human activity and construction have led to land erosion. There are some people who are trying to remove trees in the name of dangerous trees," Tikender Singh Panwar said.
"It needs to be ensured that no building is constructed in the areas where these trees are being removed. It needs to be ensured that the green cover is increased and there is a need for Systemic silviculture in the city" he added.
"As we have been talking about the city resilience index, the temperature will increase which will be dangerous. Not even a single person died due to the uprooting of trees in Shimla. Now in the receding monsoon, the lopping of trees needs to be done. We are reducing the green cover and as the scientists say we need to increase the green cover," Tikender Singh Panwar said.
Former Mayor of Shimla Municipal Corporation, Sanjay Chauhan said, "The beauty of Shimla lies in the greenery of the forests, the oak trees and also the Deodar trees. The British also selected Shimla and they built some important good buildings."
"The forest rights since then lie with the Municipal Corporation of Shimla under the Himachal Pradesh Municipal Act 1994. We have learnt from 2012 to 2017 that the right of the forest is with the Shimla Municipal Corporation. The Mayor as Chairman needs to constitute the tree authority committee," Sanjay Chauhan said.
"We used to remove dangerous trees as per proper demand and committee recommendation so that uprooting does not happen in the rainy and snow season. The uprooting of trees this year has happened due to mismanagement. The Tree Authority Committee has not been constituted even six months after the Shimla Municipal Corporation was elected to power," the former Mayor of Shimla Municipal Corporation said.
"Some influential people are trying to remove trees; we demand that Action should be taken against those who are doing it. Under the Act, there is a provision that there is a need to plant five trees if one tree is axed as a dangerous tree. A white paper needs to be brought for this to show how many trees were uprooted and how many have been removed. There is a committee of experts from the Department of Forest, Horticulture and other experts who recommend and remove such trees. Some people are trying to remove such trees illegally and that needs to be looked into seriously," Chauhan added.
The mayor of Shimla Municipal Corporation Surender Chauhan said that thousands of trees were uprooted and removed during the rain and subsequent floods in Shimla City. He said that for those who are illegally removing trees, action will be taken against them.
He also said that it will be ensured that no map is passed for building construction in such areas where trees are being removed under dangerous category. He also said that the Municipal Corporation for the next week has targeted to plant over 5000 trees to compensate for the trees that have been removed.
"Due to the landslides and rain floods, thousands of trees have been uprooted in Shimla, We are ensuring that trees are not removed illegally. We have issued notice in two cases and action will be taken against those who have removed trees in the name of dangerous trees. We shall ensure that no building map is passed in such an area," the Shimla Municipal Corporation mayor said.
"We are starting a week-long plantation drive with a target of planting over 5000 trees. We shall try to plant 10,000 trees during the next one week," Surender Chauhan said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)