A petition to the chief minister has been signed by over a thousand people, many of which are well known. The media has carried stories about the problem. The designers of the HCBS have been met and they have promised to help revise the plans. Citizens have done actions on the ground. (pic by Jaya Iyer above). Only nothing has changed. As if the driver in the bulldozer is so high up and so deafened by his own machine that nothing can stop him. It is a sign of the times. Projects carry the way. There is too much money involved. Too many intertwined interests. The scale of change is direclty proportional to the scale of capital. Humans are mere tools in its hands it seems, both who have the capital or those who only suffer from not having it. Unfree, bound.
Date:26/03/2007 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2007/03/26/stories/2007032610310100.htm
Spare the trees, plead Delhi's leading lights
NEW DELHI: Former Prime Minister V. P. Singh, writer and columnist Kushwant Singh and journalist Pranoy Roy have pitched in along with environmentalists and concerned citizens of the Capital to appeal to the Delhi Government to spare the green cover currently under threat from the High Capacity Bus Service corridor and widening of roads for more lanes.Top academics, experts, journalists, activists and students have signed an appeal to be submitted to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit asking her to stop and review the onslaught on thousands of trees lining the Capital's roads.
The ongoing petition has been initiated by Trees for Delhi, a coalition of non-government organisations and citizens of Delhi, expressing anguish over this move.
The petition urges a review of the entire plan, while emphasising that merely broadening road and felling trees to claim space for more vehicles cannot resolve the issue of traffic congestion.
"The entire process of planning for the project had been carried out without engaging in any public consultation and the petition poses several procedural issues, besides casting doubt on the very wisdom of our transport planners,'' said Ravi Agarwal, member of Trees for Delhi, at a press conference here over the weekend along with representatives from other non-governmental organisations World Wide Fund-India, Kalpavriksha, Toxics Link and Youthreach.
The petition notes that in recent months thousands of healthy trees have been cut or dug out in the name of traffic decongestion and projects including Delhi Metro and the High Capacity Bus Service corridor. "But this is not just another story of urbanisation in conflict with the environment. It is also the story of the loss of voice that people feel especially of those who have called this city their home for generations. About 30,000 trees have been cut for Metro Phase-I, National Highway Project, High Capacity Bus Service corridor, flyovers, underpasses, subways, and general road widening and we have to ask the Government to re-look its policies,'' added Mr. Agarwal.
Said Ajay Mahajan from Kalpavriksha: "Citizens and non-government organisations should be consulted before making crucial decisions and if trees continue to disappear at this rate then more than half a lakh trees will be lost before the beginning of the Commonwealth Games. Also, efforts should be made to integrate existing trees with the development plans and ensure that there is space for future plantations.''
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