There were countless trees along the road. Starting from the people walking on the path and coming up from the fields, to the farmers, everyone used to take rest for a while under those trees. But the road must be widened. That is why all those trees have been cut down arbitrarily.
According to the sources of the Department of Works, 27 crore rupees have been allocated for the expansion of about twenty kilometers of road from Uttarpara Junction in Baharampur, Rangamati Chandpara, Kedar Bridge to Kandi Khosbaspur in West Bengal. Earlier the road was five and a half meters wide. Now one and a half meters is being extended to 7 meters. That’s why the Public Works Department and the Forest Department identified about 900 trees on that road in Baharampur and Kandi blocks together. Baharampur Panchayat Samiti has also invited tenders to a company for felling 373 trees in Baharampur block. The cutting of that tree started four months ago.
Allegations and denial
But Sajal Biswas, district executive president of West Bengal Vigyan Manch claimed, “Trees have been cut even beyond the marked trees. Despite repeated notices to the administration, they have remained silent.” He claimed, “We asked to raise one and a half meters on one side of the road to save the trees, but it was not accepted.” Abdus Samad Sheikh of Baharampur received the tender for cutting trees. He, however, said, “Baseless allegations have been raised. We have not cut a single tree outside the identified trees.”
The forest department has taken action in the incident. Nadia-Murshidabad DFO Pradeep Bauri said, “Investigation has been started as soon as the matter came to our notice. Necessary action will be taken if additional trees are felled.” Mr. Pradeep said, “For the expansion of that road, permission has been given to cut certain trees. However, they have been told to plant five times the number of trees that will be cut.”
When will the trees be planted? Murshidabad Zilla Parishad Works Officer Rajeev Hossain said, “Bahrampur Panchayat Samiti called for tenders for tree felling. Only they can say the matter.” Sukumar Adhikari, President of Baharampur Panchayat Samiti, says, “When the road widening work is done, we will plant trees along the road.” Raninagar Trinamool MLA Soumik Hossain’s house is in Baharampur block. Soumik says, “Just as trees are needed, roads are also needed. That’s why the trees were cut. But I will say that trees should be planted after the roads are made.” He claimed, “If someone complains about cutting extra trees, the administration will definitely take action.” Both sides of the road are standing empty in the hot afternoon of the month.
It is hoped that sufficient trees will be planted on both sides of these roads soon. Even if not 5 times, if at least the same number of trees can be planted, the balance of the environment can be saved to some extent. Otherwise, the temperature in that area can increase manifold and it can be very painful.