KOCHI: Observations made by Ashwani Kumar, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on science, technology, environment and forests, on the massive destruction of greenery for Kochi Metro project assumes great significance as the compensatory afforestation programme is yet to be effectively implemented.
It was earlier assessed that 467 trees would have to be felled for the Metro project including the 25-km viaduct from Aluva to Pettah and the coach maintenance yard at Muttom.
However, the Parliamentary panel has said that nearly 1,400 trees were cut in the name of Metro while permission was given only to axe 440 trees.
Meanwhile, the blame game continues between the Metro agencies on the lapses in carrying out compensatory tree planting. Highly placed sources at Kochi Metro Rail Limited and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation put the onus on one another for carrying out the afforestation.
“Compensatory tree planting is not KMRL’s responsibility. However, as part of our greening initiative we have planted more than 7000 saplings along roads, educational institutions and other available public places. The saplings are being properly taken care of,” said sources at KMRL.
More than 2,600 saplings have been planted this year alone, along the Vallarpadam Container Road and some educational institutions. Steps are afoot to set up green walkways along Panampilly Nagar and Hospital Road, according to KMRL official.
However, sources at DMRC told DC that the agency had planted more than 1500 saplings in the HMT owned casting yard at Kalamassery.
“Though the policy of the DMRC is to carry out the Metro works in the most environment-friendly manner with planting 10 saplings in place of one tree chopped, scarcity of land is a major problem. It is difficult to plant trees along the narrow roads of the city,” DMRC official said.
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