Herald: NGO slams MVR Infra for cutting coconut trees along NH at Guirim

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NGO slams MVR Infra for cutting coconut trees along NH at Guirim

14 Mar 2019 05:38am IST
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14 Mar 2019 05:38am IST

Writes to authorities urging them to save remaining trees; Wants MVR Infra to plant five times the number of tress it cut

Team Herald


GUIRIM: Last week the Goa Green Brigade had written to the PWD Minister, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Chief Secretary and Manager of MVR Infra Projects criticising them for illegally cutting over 50 trees and destroying the avenue of coconut trees along the Guirim stretch. 

The NGO also demanded that the concrete around the roots of the trees be removed as “it is chocking the trees to death” and to compensate the loss, the contractor should replant new coconut trees five times the number they have cut on the Guirim Highway.

There were 400 coconut trees along this 2 km stretch at Guirim. Currently these trees are being cut illegally at night one at a time.

Two years ago historian Prajal Sakhardande and a group of nature lovers led a chipko movement and held a protest to save these coconut trees on either sides of the road. The Goa Green Brigade had also organised a protest at this site and also undertaken plantation of coconut trees along this stretch.

Several trees on the National Highway (NH) 17 are facing the axe and uprooting due to reckless road digging and use of heavy-earth moving machines close to the roots of these age-old trees by the MVR Infra Projects -- the contractors/builders of this road project. 

“The cutting of these trees is a serious environmental threat as these trees not only provide us with oxygen, but also are the nesting and breeding sites for birds, reptiles, insects, butterflies, bees and a wide range of biodiversity thrives on it,” the Green Brigade said in its letter.

The letter tried to bring to the notice of the authorities concerned the directions issued by the Principal Bench, National Green Tribunal at New Delhi for de-concretization at the base around the roots of the trees for a minimum of at least 1x1 meter area. But in violation of this order, the contractors is building the road at Guirim, and other parts of NH 17 have built very close to the roots, thus choking to death most of the coconut as well other trees. Therefore, Goa Green Brigade has requested to ensure that the concrete around the roots of these trees be removed immediately.

Avertino Miranda, co-ordinator of Goa Green Brigade, said that over 50 coconut trees along the Guirim Highway have been cut illegally in the middle of the night. 

“The coconut palms, stems and roots are taken away to destroy any evidence of this mindless destruction of coconut and other trees by MVR Infra. The Highway 17 (NH66) road building contractor covering the highway distance of 42.9 kilometers from Patradevi to Bambolim has destroyed several other trees. In this context, we request the authorities concerned to direct MVR Infra to replant new coconut trees five times the number they have cut on the Guirim Highway and also ensure the trees receive manure and watering for the next ten years,” Miranda said.

The Goa Green Brigade opines that MVR Infra should pay for the Tree Protection Fund as required under Section 10 and 35-A  of the Goa Daman & Diu Preservation of Trees Act, 1984. At the same time they urged the authorities to help to save the remaining trees along the NH-17 between Patradevi and Bambolim.

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