Slipshod translocation raises questions

Crime Today News

Just over a month after recognition of Hyderabad as ‘Global Tree City’, an instance of gross neglect in translocation of trees has been brought into light close to the Outer Ring Road.

Video clips of trees being dug up using earth moving machinery on the service road between Warangal Highway and Vijayawada Highway near Ghatkesar went viral on social media, which drew netizens’ ire as it went against the established procedures of tree translocation.

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) has reportedly got permission for translocation of thousands of trees on the 50-km stretch between Chinna Golconda and Ghatkesar mostly along the Outer Ring Road, for laying LPG pipelines.

Over 40,000 trees are identified which would be affected by the project, and permission was given by the Tree Protection Committee for felling/translocation/retention as is applicable in each case.

However, HPCL authorities have reportedly chosen to translocate trees listed for felling too, and over 10,000 trees have been translocated so far.

Despite the noble intentions, no established procedure seems to have been followed in translocation of the semi-grown trees.

Scientific procedure mandates that the tree be uprooted along with maximum of its root stock, with as little disturbance as possible. To retain the root ball, the ground needs to be dug up carefully around the trunk/stem, leaving required clearance. The procedure usually take a few days, as the tree needs recovery time after each side is dug. Foliage on the tree should be brought down to a third even before digging it up, to reduce translocation stress.

While much of this procedure is often given the go-by by the municipal and urban development authorities in a haste to complete the projects, the neglect is seemingly glaring in the present instance.

Trees are seen being uprooted without root balls using the excavator handle, and the foliage pruned after uprooting.

Sources inform that majority of these trees were planted along the ORR not more than four to five of years ago, with some of the saplings being only a year old.

Officials from the Forest department, and HPCL representatives claimed that the survival rate was very high, and several of the translocated trees were already growing leaves. Environmentalists however demur.

“Survival of the trees does not absolve HPCL contractors of the shoddy job. Despite being one of the largest public sector companies, they have not ensured scientific procedure while translocating the trees,” says Uday Krishna from Vata Foundation, who posted the videos.

Principal Secretary, Municipal Administration & Urban Development, and HMDA Commissioner in charge Arvind Kumar said a team had been sent to the location to inspect the procedure, and action will be taken based in the report.

While HPCL has maintained silence over the issue, the company’s representatives clarified that the trees had to be excavated on certain stretch due to “rocky terrain”.

Crime Today News | Hyderabad

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