Powered by

Home On Ground

Bhopal Tree Cutting: Protests began to protect 29,000 trees from felling

Protests in Bhopal against govt plan to rebuild bungalows for ministers & officers intensify, with hundreds gathering in Shivaji Nagar area on Friday, demanding withdrawal of the decision to cut trees.

By Shishir Agrawal
New Update
Bhopal Chipko Aandolan

A person hugging a tree in Bhopal's Shivaji Nagar

Listen to this article
0.75x 1x 1.5x
00:00 / 00:00

In Bhopal, protests are going on continuously against the cutting of 29000 trees to rebuild government bungalows of ministers and officers. On Friday evening also, hundreds of people gathered in Shivaji Nagar's No. 6 area and demanded the government to withdraw the decision. People gathered here from different parts of Bhopal including Shivaji Nagar, Tulsi Nagar, carrying placards in their hands and writing a resolution letter to the government against this decision. Kumud Singh, who was involved in the protest, while talking to us said,

"This decision of the government shows their short-sightedness."

What is the whole controversy?

On Wednesday, June 12, local councillor Yogendra Singh Guddu Chauhan along with other Congress leaders protested against this government order. Speaking to Ground Report he said,

“On June 8, a proposal was brought by the Urban Development Department. It was said that bungalows for ministers and MLAs are to be built on a total of 300 acres in Tulsi Nagar and Shivaji Nagar. “This is an area rich in old trees, so this proposal should be rejected.”

According to Dainik Bhaskar's report, 2,267 government bungalows and houses are slated for demolition. Subsequently, 30 bungalows, 16 flats, and 230 flats for MLAs will be constructed on the site. Additionally, the plan includes the construction of 3,480 bungalows and houses for government officers.

All this will be built on a total of 297 acres of land. This includes 142 acres of land in Tulsi Nagar and 155 acres of land in Shivaji Nagar.

bhopal tree cutting news
Photo - Yogendra Singh Guddu Chauhan

Has this proposal been cancelled?

On Thursday morning, a piece of news went viral on social media in which it was said that the Chief Minister had cancelled the felling of trees for this project. To get an official response on this, we reached out to Sanjay Jain, Additional Director, Public Relations Department of Madhya Pradesh. He only gave us a vague answer in this matter. He said that the file of this project has not yet reached the CM.

In such a situation, the question is, how can the project be cancelled when the file has not reached the CM? Responding to this, environmental activist Rashid Noor Khan says,

“The news that this project has been canceled appears to be false. These days the government is busy with the Jal Ganga Sanrakshan campaign. The Chief Minister himself is promoting it. In such a situation, before its conclusion on June 16, there should be no such protest which could tarnish the image of the government, so that these things have been spread.”

What did the minister say?

Amidst the controversy arising due to the cutting of such a large number of trees, Urban Administration Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya said in a video,

“Development is important and trees are also important. We will translocate those trees which come in the way of development.”

Giving the example of his home area Indore, he said that development has taken place there too but we have not cut trees, we have shifted them. He said that the talks about cutting off trees are rumours. That means, according to him, 29 thousand trees will not be cut but will be translocated. However, environmentalist Ajay Dubey raised questions on this and said that the state government should tell with figures how many trees are left alive after translocation.

subhash pandey NGT activist

“The project should be shifted to the vacant land of Smart city”

Even though the minister is talking about translocating the trees, environmental activists say that it would be more appropriate to shift the project instead of the trees. In fact, even before this, the same place was selected under Bhopal Smart City. At that time the 333-acre area of ​​Shivaji Nagar was to be redeveloped. Later, when there was a protest against the cutting of trees, it was shifted to TT Nagar.

Dr. Pradeep Nandi, DG of the National Center for Human Settlement and Environment (NCHSE), recalls the efforts of former Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh and founder of the center, Nirmala Buch, and says,

“During Smart City project, this was opposed under the leadership of Madam Buch. During this time, a survey was also conducted in which it was found that there are trees of rare species in this area. Also, it was told in the survey that it can be made like the lungs of the city. That is why the project was later shifted.

The land monetization policy that was adopted under Bhopal Smart City has failed miserably. These vacant lands still exist with the Smart City Authority. Guddu Chauhan says,

“The government has refused to give money under Smart City. We want this project to be implemented only on 342 acres of vacant land of the smart city.”

This decision of the government is currently being protested in the entire city. Some women of Shivaji Nagar and Tulsi Nagar also protested symbolically by clinging to trees. They say that these trees have been grown by them, hence we will not allow them to be cut.

Keep reading

As elites control the reservoirs, Sehore's fishermen remain impoverished

Sehore' Indira Nagar colony, people live amidst burning garbage smoke

Follow Ground Report for Environmental News from India. Connect with us on FacebookTwitterKoo AppInstagramWhatsapp and YouTube. Write us at [email protected] and subscribe to our free newsletter

Don’t forget to check out our climate glossary, it helps in learning difficult environmental terms in simple language.