Chennai: Tamil Nadu has been recording increase in its forest cover for the past five years, but at the same time, the capital city Chennai has been losing its tree cover in an alarming manner.
In the past four years, more than 10,000 acres of greenery have been wiped out from Chennai by the government authorities paving way for buildings. Parks, lake bunds, riverbanks and government educational institutions as they are easy targets, admitted an informed official at the state forest headquarters.
The union government last month announced that India’s forest and tree cover has increased by 5, 081 square kilometre and of this Tamil Nadu and Kerala gained the maximum.
Last month, Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar, lauded TN for recording maximum tree cover growth in the latest satellite census conducted by the forest survey of India. Tamil Nadu has registered 2, 501 square kilometre increase in its forest cover but at the same time three districts including Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur are losing their greenery at an alarming level, explained the official.
Retired official with Zoological Survey of India had even filed a petition in the Madras high court and National Green Tribunal, but at the same time the government should have a strong policy to prevent chopping of trees, said N. Balaji, an avid wildlife photographer.
Authorities often forget that during winter and summer seasons, these open areas are habitats for birds visiting Chennai from different parts of the world for breeding purpose. Birds of prey such as eagles, kites, shikra and falcons are the worst affected with declining number of large trees, he said. Further the government may argue that for every tree chopped an alternate is planted but the challenge is that ensuring the survival of trees beyond five years is crucial and it is not followed by the government authorities, he alleged.