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Preparation for Harela

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By S Paul

Reference the front page of GP dated 1 June, 2024. The news item announcing the planned planting of 1 lakh trees in the city of Dehradun sounds more like a manifesto for public’s appeasement rather than a planned arboriculture of an urban area by a government development authority headed by a bureaucrat of great expertise in administration and management. No Sir! This does not convince us of your seriousness. For an urban area greening it is quality not the quantity that matters. For instance, planting of fruit trees as avenue trees, as implied, is a very uneducated plan in a place which abounds in monkeys, bats and nuisance creating fruit eating birds. If meant for human consumption how will these be guarded against marauding public? I wonder how consciously the builders would feel involved in this. They may do it only to curry favour of the MDDA of which they have already received a lot that was unplanned and without pre consideration to the natural greens of the valley. It appears to be a planning by ‘first act than think’.

If you are planning planting of 1 lakh saplings, why cut down thousands of hundreds of years old ones first? Does not the development authority, the administration and the government have their own experts in planning and organising such Harelas ? Why outsource them? All this raises suspicion of misusing public funds. Sorry Sir! We respectfully demand to be made aware of your full plan of types of trees, specific places of planting, and upkeep clause in your contract to the builders. Why not make the builders create roof and balcony gardens in the monstrous multi-storeyed buildings they have constructed and are likely to construct with your authorisation? Concerned citizens would also like to know the names and qualifications of the members of your advisory committee in this planning.

I have in my earlier write-ups pleaded for the administration to first think of rehabilitation of denuded forest patches (specifically with fruit trees) and create reservoirs and catchment ponds on surface not by cutting down trees but on the open patches of land which may otherwise become a victim of Realtors’ avarice. I would further submit to you, Sir, please get the forest authorities to lop down all tall existing trees in the human habitats to the maximum height of not exceeding 30 feet (three storeys) as the region is very prone to windstorms which uproot tall trees that damage the power supply system and damage buildings, etc. Please take a lesson from the elite Defence Colony where tall trees abound as avenue trees creating such a nuisance after every storm. Trimming tall trees to low height also makes their roots go deeper and branches to become more dense. I would further request you to consider short evergreen trees for avenues and make different coloured bougainvillea (also flowering Ivy) climb these. The bougainvillea reinforces the trees and it flowers profusely. See examples of such a growth on EC Road opposite Hillgrange School. Even silver oak can be trimmed to short height and act as beautiful dense shady evergreen avenue trees as can be seen in front of the Excise and Customs office on Nehru Colony Road, Dharampur, Dehradun.