Arms against a plan to expand Dehradun airport
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The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has asked the state government to explore the possibility of acquiring a different patch of land for the expansion, so that the trees could be spared.
Of the 9,745 trees that are proposed to be cut, 3,405 are khair, 2,444 are sheesham, 1,234 teak, 1,121 kanju, 549 jhingan, and 120 are gulmohar.
- The Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority proposed the expansion of Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun with the aim of upgrading it to meet international standards.
- It is proposed to take over 87 hectares of forest land in Doiwala village in Dehradun district, and another 17.41 hectares of non-forest land for the project.
Protest and cause
- Invoking the famous Chipko movement which began in Uttarakhand in the 1970s, they tied “raksha sutras” around the trees to express their concern for the environment, and to demand the conservation of green cover.
Government’s argument for cutting the trees
- Highlighting the significance of the project, a note attached with the proposal sent to the Centre, says that due to the hilly geography, people are dependent on roads for travel and movement.
- A large part of the state shares an international border with China, and the expansion of Jolly Grant airport is strategically very important.
- The state has to face frequent natural disasters, and air operations are very important for rescue and relief.
- Air operations will also help promote tourism to the Char Dham.