Guwahati: The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has started massive tree felling at Boko in Assam’s Kamrup district and in the Krishnai area of Goalpara district for the expansion of NH-17.
On Wednesday, the NHAI chopped down hundreds of valuable trees on both sides of the highway at Singra and Chukuniapara in Boko to widen the highway to four lanes, said a forest official. Earlier, several trees on the both sides of the highway were cut down at Shakhati and Bandapara area in Boko.
In Goalpara district, the NHAI has felled over 8,600 trees so far, including 100 valuable sal trees in the Borjhar and Bormatia reserve forests, the official said. The NHAI has identified 7,034 more sal trees to be felled in these forests.
The tree felling drive met with protests from local people and environmentalists. Following local people’s objections and media reports, the tree felling drive was suspended on July 12, 2023.
The chief conservator of forest (CCF) of Central Assam Circle ordered the DFO, Goalpara division to stop the felling of trees.
The CCF in a letter asked the DFO to stop the felling of trees along NH-17 in the name of widening the highway and to consider whether the trees could be conserved and replanted elsewhere.
However, the DFO has allegedly not implemented even one clause of the letter in the past three months.
Earlier, actor Adil Hussain and filmmaker Rima Das, two of Assam’s renowned cultural icons, expressed concern over the Assam government and NHAI’s decision to cut down over 2,000 trees for the four-lane highway from Goalpara to Guwahati via Boko-Chaygaon.
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