Sangrur, Barnala: After road development, PWD delays plantation

Forest department has issued 15 notices to PWD (Public Works Department) for not carrying out compensatory aforestation after widening, upgradation and construction of various roads, including highways, in Sangrur and Barnala district. Forest department officials said that 355.58-hectare forest land was diverted for 15 road projects of PWD in the last 10 years and hundreds of trees were axed for these road projects.

The PWD had sought NOCs from the Central government under section 2 of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 for diverting forest land for non-forest purposes. The government had issued NOCs to the PWD for road projects. According to the department, tree plantation by roadside was one of the mandatory terms of NOC, which the department failed to fulfill. The projects undertaken by PWD include, four lanning and special repair on Barnala – Bajakhanna road, construction of paved shoulder on Ramgarh – Barnala road, four laning of Patiala – Sangrur – Barnala- Bathinda road, widening of Ludhiana – Hisar road and upgradation and strengthening of Sangrur bypass road.

Divisional forest officer, Monika Devi Yadav, said, “Earlier we have also issued notices to them but the officials did not respond to them. Now we have again issued notice to them. If they fail to act on three notices, we will approach the court for their prosecution.”

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