Early Times Report
SRINAGAR, Aug 27: Cutting giant trees like Chinars means deforestation and invites floods like situation in Kashmir. Ecologists believe that most of the states including Jammu & Kashmir have reduced its capacity to deal with extreme floods by allowing illegal stone quarrying, cutting down forests and grasslands, changing drainage patterns.
Sources from Bandipora district said that the department of R&B was allowed only to cut worn out branches of Chinars that fall on Srinagar-Bandipora road. "Unfortunately few weeks back, the authorities from the concerned department cut down the Chinar trees for widening of roads, and they were least bothered about the heritage of Kashmir," sources told Early Times. They said, "one can understand that government of J&K has not learnt any lesson from 2014 floods that took many lives in Kashmir and the reason is that people and the different departments have chopped off many trees be it the forests, walnuts, or chinar trees." There were reports that for years, there had been warnings that no matter how much the greed and need of humankind to encroach and vandalize rivers, lakes and forests, one day these ecosystems would reclaim their original borders, sources mentioned.
"Time and again the High court has banned the cutting down of chinar trees, except they create hindrances for smooth function of transport, but one may also call it as, 'the destruction of Kashmir heritage," said sources.
Sources quoting the devastating floods that hit the Kerala state, according to them that there was a news report that showed Kerala has reduced its capacity to deal with such extreme floods by allowing illegal stone quarrying, cutting down forests and grasslands. Even Madhav Gadgil, ecologist and founder of the centre for ecological sciences said that the quarries cause deforestation and block the natural streams, which help in reducing the intensity of the floods, said sources. They further said that, the department or people that have cut the chinnar trees in Bandipora district of north Kashmir must be taken to task, a case should be filed against them.
From past many years, hundreds of age-old chinars were cut during the construction of highway in Kashmir valley and the authorities have maintained silence over their criminal approaches, said sources.