By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 8 Nov: Doon’s pocket money funded student activist group, ‘Making a Difference by Being the Difference’ (MAD), convened its first ‘Biodiversity March’ from Behl Chowk till the Survey of India Gate on Sunday. The original plan of the organisation and several hundreds of its volunteers was to march to the Chief Minister’s Residence, in order to protest against the proposed felling of 10,000 trees and the consequent loss of biodiversity in the Thano area of the eco-sensitive Doon Valley. However, after repeated warnings of arrest by the Doon police, the young environmentalists were stopped in their march at the Survey of India gate. Thereafter, the volunteers handed over a placard, carrying the message of conservation to the highest ranking police officer who had been deputed to stop MAD members from approaching the Chief Minister’s Residence.
Several organisations in the city, such as Tara Foundation, Citizens for Green Doon, Krishivan Doon, etc., also joined. The band, Yemen, offered full support to the student movement. The felling of trees is for expansion of the city’s airport.
MAD has alleged that the airport expansion in the reserve forest is unnecessary and that it was always open to the State Government to procure private land and compensate citizens for the same. MAD has also alleged that the Environmental Impact Assessment is dubious. It has been stated in the report that no schedule 1 fauna under The Wildlife Protection Act exists in the Thano area, even though it is a known fact there is continuous elephant movement as well as leopard sightings along with scores of deer being regularly seen in the region.
It is worth noting that the environment conservation division of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change had directed Uttarakhand to change its proposal to expand the airport in the Reserve forest area. However, the Government, according to MAD, is planning to continue with its earlier proposal, which is what prompted citizens of Doon to dress like various animals such as elephants, tigers, leopards, deer, rabbits, etc., and march towards the Chief Minister’s residence to give a voice to the fauna. MAD has already approached the Uttarakhand Forest Department as well as the State Biodiversity Board and requested them to intervene in the matter.
By Our Staff Reporter