About 30 old trees to be transplanted for NH expansion

The Public Works Department (PWD) in Malda is taking an initiative to transplant at least 30 old big roadside trees to some other place for conservation of greenery for the widening of the National Highway (NH) at Mangalbari in Old Malda Municipality area.

There is no precedent in Malda for removing old trees with soil and transplanting them elsewhere with JCB machines. The PWD officials are not aware whether this has been successful anywhere in the state and are not sure if the trees transplanted will survive or not. In such a situation, the officials have first gone to Kolkata to take expert advice.

The department started the process of felling 30 trees simultaneously for the expansion of the NH in Mangalbari. There is almost two kilometers of the road lined with big trees which mostly includes Banyan, Golden Rumph’s Fig and other trees.Road widening work started from Bulbulimore in Old Malda to the area adjacent to Behula River bridge. A massive traffic congestion is the reason for the administration to start the work of constructing four lanes on the NH.

The tender phase was also completed but some environment activists put up a barrier. They complained about this to the Malda District Magistrate and the demand for tree transplantation was raised. The District Magistrate then requested the Forest department officials to find an alternative way to save the trees. Due to this, the Forest department withdrew the permission of felling the trees. Divisional Forest Officer, Malda, Jiju Jasper, asked the PWD not to cut down the trees but they must be transplanted by a trained agency.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation was seen to take the first initiative in the state to transplant full grown trees. A few trees uprooted in the storm were revived by transplanting in Kolkata. Asit Kumar Saha, executive engineer (construction) of PWD Malda, said: “To remove such old and big trees along with the soil and to plant them elsewhere will take a lot of time. We will consult experts to find ways. If necessary, the experts of the Kolkata Municipality will be communicated with. Our officials have been sent to Kolkata. We will also go to other states if necessary.”

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