GUWAHATI: The move to cut down a tree, a habitat of the endangered Lesser Adjutant Stork, landed into a controversy in Guwahati city, Assam.
The siris (rain) tree, which is believed to be 100 years old, houses six pairs of the Lesser Adjutant Stork (popularly known as bortukula).
The tree stands near Nayan Filling Kishan Sewa Kendra on Dharapur-Palashbari Road.
The National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) has decided to remove the tree to widen the road stretch from Dharapur to Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (LGBIA).
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The move of the NHIDCL has promoted a nature lovers organization from North Lakhimpur to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention not to cut down the tree for the sake of the birds.
In its letter to PM Modi, the NGO said the colony of Lesser Adjutant Strok has been nesting on the tree for several years and cutting it down renders the birds homeless.
“Moreover, the nests of these birds have fledglings and if the trees are dismantled these fledglings will die,” JUgal Borah, a member of Bihanga Bandhu said.
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A local villager said the particular colony of Lesser Adjutant Stork has inhabited these trees for many generations and though traffic is increasing on the highway, the birds have never changed their habitat.
Following the appeal of the NGO, the DFO of Kamrup East Division, Rohini Saikia said: “We have received such a complaint. We are going to re-instate the order.”
A large number of trees have been felled in the last year along Jalukbari-Basistha Highway to convert the two-lane highway into a four-lane one. This would ease traffic on the highway that connects Jalukbari with Khanapara.
The NGO alleged that more than 293 trees will be felled on the Dharapur-Palashbari road to make way for the widening of the road project.
The studies found that Guwahati has experienced a significant loss and fragmentation of green cover with nearly a 50 per cent drop in dense and moderated dense forests while non-forest areas grew twelvefold between 1976 and 2018.
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