In their latest order, the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to complete a detailed and ‘special’ study to find alternative means to ensure that the 750 Banyans are safe and sound. The order does not support any uprooting or cutting of these trees until such a report is submitted to the tribunal at the earliest. The 700-odd Banyans mentioned in the order are the trees that will be impacted by the road-widening; there are another 200 trees that are unaffected as the present alignment does not reach them.
The NGT notes that the Banyan clusters on NH-163 present a unique situation owing to the wide variety of avian and other species they sustain. The tribunal also notes the wide trunks and large canopies of these Banyans relative to the other trees in their vicinity.
The Nature Lovers of Hyderabad agree and join the tribunal in urging NHAI to consider serious alternatives that will safeguard all the Banyans on NH-163. We also bring to their attention that bypassing a small and sensitive scrub-forest like Mudimyal will save one of the last scrublands on the borders of Hyderabad.
Here is a detailed report in Indian Express.
Here is the link to the online version.
Thank you Indian Express, and Niharika Saila, for this story.