Jalandhar: Punjab which could boast of just seven per cent forest cover was felling a whopping 40,000 trees for the four laning project of Jalandhar to Barnala to Hoshiarpur roads, leading to yet another drop in the green drive of the state. The Rs 4,000 crore four laning project was aimed at improving the inter-state road connectivity between the states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Inter-state four laning road connectivity was a major demand on this stretch, as these roads witness a heavy rush of traffic every day and more so during festive season. Currently, felling of trees was going on at Jalandhar-Nakodar stretch was going on under the supervision of Public Works Department (PWD), which would cover road via Moga to Barnala.
The felling of trees on the 35 kilometer Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur road which was also passed, was all set to begin shortly. Talking to Daily Post, PWD Executive Engineer G S Sangha said the auction of 16,000 plus trees was done recently. “The auction of rest of the trees would be done shortly within a week. The Forest Department officials have been paid for the auction while the work on Jalandhar-Nakodar stretch was also all set to begin”, he said. Interestingly, the District Forest Officials have claimed that they would double the number of trees that were being cut but the work was yet to begin. A majority of the Jalandhar-Barnala-Hoshiarpur stretch has protected forest land trees on these roads, leading to a steep downfall in the already minimal forest cover.
Though District Forest Officer was not available for comments but sources maintained that the forest department has planned to plant saplings at various locations in Punjab. However, no such locations were zeroed in on by the forest department officials yet. PWD officials also maintained that under the Jalandhar-Barnala project, the work would begin from Jyoti chowk to Nakodar, Shahkot, Dharamkot and then it would go upto National Highway-71 connecting it with neighbouring state of Haryana.
Under this four laning project, as many as six flyovers, over half a dozen underpasses at rail crossings, three railways over bridges, underpasses for the pedestrians and several bypass roads would be constructed. “The Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur 35 kilometer road stretch was aimed at providing a smooth inter-state connectivity between the two important states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. The project was likely to begin soon”, said PWD officials. Recently, in the month of May, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) stopped cutting of trees on Bist-Doab canal, which were being felled under the rehabilitation work of Bist -Doab canal.
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