The citizens allege that they were not consulted regarding the issue, despite the move to cut the trees being halted back in November 2019.

Trees chopped in Nallagandla in November 2019Image for representation
news Environment Friday, May 15, 2020 - 08:52

Residents in Hyderabad's Nallagandla area are up in arms after work was resumed on a road expansion project that involved cutting down several trees, on May 13. The citizens allege that they were not consulted regarding the issue, despite the move to cut the trees being halted, back in November 2019.

The issue first began last year when officials said that they were granted permission to chop down 134 trees on the Nallagandla-Tellapur road stretch.

Displeased citizens went to the location and stalled the work. Documents shared by officials concerned at the time showed that the permission was granted to Roads and Buildings (R&B) department, who applied for the road expansion plan and got it approved by the Forest Divisional Officer (FDO) of Shamshabad.

Residents said that they wanted to represent their case to authorities and allege that officials were not taking this into consideration.

In a statement, Tejaswi Dantuluri from the South Asian People's Action on Climate Crisis (SAPAAC) said, "Multiple promises were made by the officials concerned that they will consult the local residents for their representation on the issue, but none of them were invited to the Tree Protection Committee meeting which was held on January 23."

When work resumed on May 13, residents say that they were forced to step outside of their homes to stop the felling of trees.

A few citizens noticed the cutting and informed the members of 'Save Nallagandla Trees’ WhatsApp group, who went to the location to halt the work.

A total of 44 trees have been marked for cutting at present, and they fear the cutting of trees may resume during the lockdown period.

“The residents want road maintenance not road extension and they want their perspective and representation to be taken into consideration which they were promised but later were not invited to," said Bharath, who runs Paaka, a cafe in the area.

"The residents are unhappy with lack of inclusion in the matter and want to be involved in the decision making that affects their lives," he added.

They are also appealing to ecological and development experts to contribute to the representations made by the local residents.

“Officials are taking advantage of the situation where the public cannot step outside of their homes, and resuming work, when citizens are already involved and want to have a discussion to reach an amicable decision," says Kajal Maheshwari from Hyderabad Rising.

“The residents are open to finding alternate solutions. They are not against development. They only want long term sustainable solutions which are beneficial," she adds.

Read: Industries polluting air and water, residents of Hyderabad’s Ameenpur allege

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