The coronavirus pandemic and the imposition of lockdowns has given our planet some breathing space with many news reports suggesting similar stories of a substantial reduction in the level of pollution but forests have remained under constant threat still.
India has seen rapid deforestation in recent years, primarily due to its focus on economic development.
In 2018, the Forest Survey of India (FSI) published its State of Forest 2017, which recorded a modest increase of 1 per cent in the forest cover, from 7,01,673 sq km in 2015 to 7,08,273 sq km in 2017.
Recently, a land of trees was cut by contractors in Huda Enclave, Hyderabad. Huda Enclave is part of the Prashashan Nagare/Jubilee Hills Area.
There is a plan to build a road that will help ease the traffic on the road that goes past all the IAS officers’ homes in Prashashan Nagar. The work started a week ago and they have ploughed through trees and parkland and knocked down the park wall. Trees were even cut overnight for road widening.
Outraged residents of Hydrabad are trying to stop them from continuing the park assault but according to the contractor, the encroachment is government approved. There is an avenue of Pipals that are a bit further down that may be impacted as well.
The Contractor was even quoted saying, "They are only trees. What is the problem in cutting them?"
We want to make a noise to ensure no more environmental damage is done and there is a halt to the park encroachment.
Priyanka Kota, an environmental activist from Hyderabad said, "This has been going on for a period of time now that government has always seen forest or trees as a resource or obstacle for development which is the wrong narrative to look by! Kudos to the local communities who have been fighting for their trees and this is a welcome change that needs to be followed."
She further added, "Take it from Nallagandla tree felling case, Mr.Bharath, to Prashanth Nagar case through Pratima Mulakutla, Juhi Ahmed, Phani, Amit and the local community. These cases came into limelight because of the local residents, so we need more such activism from the local communities to protect their tree cover! Hyd having just 8% or less tree cover! Fridays For Future has stood by them as support, but it is the residents who took the first step by reporting it!"