Bengaluru: The Union Environment Ministry and Karnataka Forest Department Environmentalist Akhilesh Chipli wrote to the Supreme Court’s Central Empowered Committee, requesting that over 24,400 saplings be planted in place of the 488 trees that will be cut down for the widening of the National Highway-206 that runs through Sagar town.
The State Forest Department’s Sagar division has approved the clearance of 488 trees for the project, which was granted in 2019. Last year, the Union Ministry of Road and Transport approved a revised estimate of Rs. 6,398.02 crore for a four-lane project on NH-206 between Tumakuru and Shivamogga.
According to sources, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will pay the Forest Department Rs. 43 lakh to plant ten plants for each tree that will be cut down. Chipli informed that the trees are over a hundred years old and therefore it is scientifically prudent to replace one tree with 50 trees to maintain the original Leaf Area Index (LAI).
He further informed that they have recommended the Public Works Department (PWD) to appoint an authority solely dedicated to the cause of plantation and call it the Plantation Department of the PWD.