NGT orders NHAI to conduct environmental impact assessment to minimise loss of Chevella Banyans

NGT orders NHAI to conduct environmental impact assessment to minimise loss of Chevella Banyans

The banyans were planted during the Last Nizam’s time.

The banyans were planted during the Last Nizam’s time.
| Photo Credit: File photo

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to take up an environmental impact assessment study to minimise the loss of trees due to expansion of the National Highway 163 between Hyderabad and Bijapur.

Delivering its order on a petition filed by members of the environment collective ‘Save Banyans of Chevella’ against removal of the very old banyan trees for the road expansion, the NGT has given four months to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change for issue of terms of reference and completion of the process.

Over 1,000 trees on the 46-km stretch between Moinabad and Manneguda were scheduled to be axed to pave way for the four-laning of the road, before citizen activists opposed it in 2019.

In its judgment, the bench, comprising Justice Pushpa Satyanarayana and Satyagopal Korlapati, opined that it may not be possible to transplant 780 banyan trees, which is expensive. Moreover, transplantation is possible only for those trees the girth of which is not more than 65 centimetres. If the trees are uprooted and transplanted and they do not survive, the cost incurred would be a waste, it said.

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