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Trees are being chopped down for Modi’s helipad

Hyderabad: Activists allege trees clearance works are being conducted for providing open space for the development of a helipad for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chopper.

The uprooting of thousands of trees over nearly 200 acres of forest land in Medak even as the state government is going ahead with its widely-publicised sapling plantation drives has sent shockwaves among the conservation community.

Activists allege trees clearance works are being conducted for providing open space for the development of a helipad for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chopper. They say space is also being made for accommodating participants at the launch event for Mission Bhagiratha in Telangana Chief Minister, K Chandrasekhar Rao’s constituency, Gajwel on August 7.

But when contacted, in-charge Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Telangana, P.K. Jha said the cutting of trees was “purely coincidental”.
“Clearance of eucalyptus plantations in Medak being conducted now and the Prime Minister’s visit next month to the district are purely coincidental. The clearance of plantations was decided long back.”

While tenders were released months ago no one had come forward to uproot and take them. So around 20 days ago the uprooting of stumps started across 15 plots and similar works have to be conducted in the other 21 plots.” When contacted, a forest official from Medak said, “Every 6-7 years eucalyptus trees are extracted for commercial purposes from the plantations. But in around 36 plantations, eucalyptus trees have been rendered unproductive as they were planted more than two decades ago and many of them are just tall stumps.

Even along the route from Hyderabad to Gajwel — Telangana Chief Minister’s constituency — many huge trees are being chopped down for widening of the roads. A forest and wildlife activist from the city said: “Thousands of other trees have been chopped down in the name of uprooting eucalyptus trees for the PM’s visit and there are also plans of constructing a structure to accommodate participants.

However, the forest official did not rule out the possibility that the state government was planning to have the uprooted plantation plots allotted as a venue for PM Modi’s helipad and for the gathering of people attending the event.

 

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