Opposition to axing 2,200 trees storms the social media

Tuesday, 21 September 2021 | PNS | Dehradun

The protests against the proposal to axe 2,200 trees for widening the road going on the Jogiwala- Sahastradhara Road stretch are escalating. An online campaign in opposition to the proposal sparked off a twitter-storm and ‘#savesahastradharatrees’ was trending widely on Twitter with thousands of tweets and re-tweets on Monday.

Social media users are raising widespread awareness about the campaign. A concerned citizen of Uttarakhand, Aanchal Sharma has created a petition on to save 2,200 trees from being chopped for the road widening. The petition is on its way to getting the aimed 15,000 signatures.

A protest will be held on September 26, from 11 am to 1 pm at Khalanga Memorial on Sahastradhara Road to oppose this plan. This ‘Chipko Movement’ protest is being propagated through social media to all the citizens of Uttarakhand and the organisers are sure of a large number of participants.

At least 2,200 trees have been marked for the axe to widen a two-lane 14 kilometre long road which is supposed to facilitate faster access between Mussoorie and Delhi. The aim of this proposal, which is already approved by the Centre is to connect the passengers that come from Delhi and other places directly to Mussoorie without entering Rajpur Road which would reduce the traffic load in Dehradun city. Sahastradhara is home to thousands of Eucalyptus, Mango and Peepal trees, many of which will be chopped down for the road widening.

The concerned locals are worried about the overcrowding by the tourists, the loss of essential forest cover and severe climatic changes which cause landslides, floods and cloudbursts in Dehradun as a result of this project.

Member of the Citizens For Green Doon, Himanshu Arora said, “It seems that our leaders and bureaucrats have weak memories, just a few months back we were struggling for oxygen and now we are ignoring our trees.” He believes that the widening of the road will not lead to any substantial change in traffic management and the space will only be used as an unofficial parking zone. Such widespread constructions will make Uttarakhand a ‘concrete jungle’ and lose its original identity. He elaborated that, the students and youths of Uttarakhand, many of whom are first-time voters in the upcoming Assembly elections, are the ones at the forefront of the campaign. The protesters are trying to reach out to celebrities and gather support, many of whom are now involved in the campaign, including Archana Puran Singh who wrote a Tweet in support of the campaign on her handle followed by lakhs of people. He concluded, “The people are angry and question- to whom does this city belong- just the policymakers and politicians or the citizens as well? The citizens’ opinions should also be heard” 

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