Pune: Activists from Karad and Patan taluka of Satara district are raising their voice against trees being chopped to widen the National Highway (NH) 166 E which passes through Guhagar and Chiplun taluka of Ratnagiri district, Vita and Vita taluka of Sangli district, Bijapur district in Karnataka, Karad and
According to the activists, 7,000-8,000 indigenous trees have been chopped for the highway widening work in last six months from Karad to Chiplun.
Three activists, on condition of anonymity, told Sakal Times that tree felling has affected wildlife ecosystem in the area.
An activist from Karad said that before chopping the trees, they had seen new species of birds in the area including 8-10 new species of eagles and three species of vultures. “After the tree cutting we haven’t seen these species in the area,” he said.
Another activist, who keenly observes the wildlife in the area through photography, said, “Since some part of the highway lies in the forest areas, the animals used to cross the road without any fear. After the development of the highway, dividers will be installed, which could prove fatal for wild animals while crossing the road.”
The third activist, a doctor by profession, though agreed on the need for the development of highway exists, he questioned the authorities on planting new saplings to compensate for the chopping.
“The National Highway connects Karad, Satara and Konkan and the condition of the highway was not good. There are many potholes, the speed breakers are broken and there are frequent traffic congestions. But now the main concern now is - will the authorities plant new saplings to compensate?” he said.
Vijay Kandgave, the Executive Engineer of National Highway Kolhapur, said that the tender - for an expense of Rs 2.45 crore work - has a clause stating planting of 10 saplings for every tree chopped. He said, “These highways date back to the Mughal era and they were never repaired,” he said.
Kandgave mentioned that work will be completed in two years. “After the embankment of the road, we are going to plant saplings before June this year, according to the clause mentioned in tender,” he added.