New Delhi: Littérateurs, top academics, experts, journalists, activists, students and people from other walks of life have signed on an appeal to Delhi's Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to stop and review the brutal onslaught on hundreds and thousands of trees lining the roads of the National Capital for making way for High Capacity Bus Service Corridor and widening of roads for more lanes.

Nearly a thousand people, including former Prime Minister V. P. Singh, writer and columnist Kushwant Singh and eminent journalist Pranoy Roy, have signed on the ongoing petition, initiated by Trees for Delhi, a coalition of NGOs and citizens of Delhi, expressing anguish over this move. The petition urges a review of the entire plan, while emphasising that merely broadening road and felling trees to claim space for more vehicles cannot resolve the issue of traffic and vehicular congestion.

Addressing a press conference here today, some of the member non-governmental organisations – World Wide Fund-India, Kalpavriksha, Toxics Link and Youthreach – said the entire process of planning for the project had been carried out without engaging in any public consultation. The petition poses several procedural issues, besides casting a doubt on the very wisdom of our transport planners.

"In recent months, thousands of healthy trees have been cut or dug out in the name of traffic de-congestion and projects such as the Delhi Metro and the High Capacity Bus Service Corridor. But this is not just another story of urbanisation in conflict with the environment," says the petition that would be submitted to the Chief Minister in the coming days.

"It is also the story of the loss of voice that people feel – people who have called this city their home for generations. It is a brutal reminder of the disenfranchising and top-down way that those at the helm are implementing policy.... About 30,000 trees have already been cut for Metro Phase-I, National Highway Project, High Capacity Bus Service Corridor, flyovers, underpasses, subways, and general road widening," it adds.

The petition also makes a ten-point suggestion to the Chief Minister to end what it terms as a wanton destruction of the green heritage of the National Capital. The petition and an ever-increasing list of its signatories are available at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-delhi-s-trees.html . A website has also been launched by Youthreach to provide information on the issue and the ongoing campaign www.treesfordelhi.com .

Source: southasia.oneworld.net
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