When the Sun spoke to a child about killer heat

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 21, 2024 IST

When the Sun spoke to a child about killer heat

By D N Singh

In a beautiful caption it is read that when a little boy was seen pleading before the Sun God to ‘ have mercy on us and reduce raining so much heat on earth’. In reply the Sun smiles back at the boy and tells, ‘I am not doing anything but the people must stop cutting the trees, rejuvenate the wells and ponds, stop replacing the earthen areas with concrete by razing grass turfs’.

That is what the race for beatification leads us to.

And talking about trees, perhaps, the most powerful deterrent against heat has remained the prime target of humanity. For anything, be it road widening, construction of housing complexes or other developmental activities, the axe always falls on the trees.

Some of them may be necessary but we completely overlook the holistic aspects so compellingly a must to avoid tree felling in lakhs in number.

To be specific about the ground realities in the State capital Bhubaneswar, there has been a virtual mayhem to finish even ancient trees.

The fate of the administration’s ambitious beautification drive is in limbo. And all are wayward, in fact.

Earlier it was the old structures, houses, temples and mutts which were razed down flouting all norms. The intervention of heritage activists had spurred the National Monument Authority and the Archeological Survey of India to intervene and stop all activities.

“But the enormity of the damage already done was highlighted and all activities around the Lingaraj Temple were stopped. The Ground  

Demolition of a large number of ancient monuments were taken a few years back with a bulldozing menace”added Dhir.

Along with them centuries old trees were cut down. According to a report about 250 old trees of various sizes were cut among which there were en number of fruit-bearing and shadow yielding ones like mango, neem, blackberries and jack-fruit along with others.

Before the widening of the Luis road starting from Kalpana square in Bhubaneswar, more than a hundred and a half centuries old were razed to earth whereas experts believe that many of them could have been avoided from felling by proper designing while many of them could have been transplanted.

Today, if one looks at that road, nothing much has changed, the traffic congestion is still severe as there is no restriction on parking of vehicles while a swarming population of commuters increase and the vehicles still encroach upon the road itself.

Let alone compensating by afforestions elsewhere, not even hedges can be seen on the dividers or on either side. Taking up afforestation elsewhere does not mean it should be 50 kms away.

Many ancient or iconic trees in Puri were felled in Puri before the construction of the  ‘Parikrama’coridoor  century old trees were cut down. .

The planners should not be allowed to become the predating cluster who may not realize the importance of a tree which may be 100 to 200 years old; those have taken years and years to grow.

Each single of them plays a very crucial part in the environmental balance.

 The tree that was felled outside the Emar Mutt was at least 300 years old, the other one which faces the axe is even older.

All the big trees are always homes for the birds and also play the parts of rockeries which is very, very essential for their pools and life cycles.

Where have all they gone? Must be in rapid decline. In Bhubaneswar, except the areas like Unit 2 and 3 and parts of Unit 1,  canopied by trees, the rest wear a very dismal look.

Same is the story about traditional ponds and other water-bodies that have been buried very ingloriously under the new high rising structures like apartments and high-end buildings of offices.

“Though transplantation and translocation of trees is an age-old activity the world across, it is rarely looked to as a solution in India. Each one of these trees could have been translocated to another site, albeit at a cost” said Anil Dhir, a historian and heritage activist.

Listen to the SC at least.

In March , in 2021, the Forest and Environment Department had told the Assembly that a whopping total of 18.5 million trees were felled for widening roads in the past decade.  Earlier, in December 2020, the Supreme Court of India, while hearing a plea on cutting of trees for a road project in Uttar Pradesh, had said, “Why do roads have to be laid in straight line by cutting trees? Keep roads zigzag. It will reduce speed; lessen accidents on roads and save many lives”the apex court had said.

Look  at the national highway connecting Bhubaneswar  with Cuttack when hundreds and hundreds of iconic trees and the government and the IRC had promised to plant a matching number of rich variety of trees.

Where is that? Only there are some first growing species can be seen giving it a pathetic look those are neither shadow yielding nor can shelter for birds.

Ever expanding roads has literally swept away the concept of tree-flanked avenues.

About the Author: DN Singh is a Bhubaneswar-based senior journalist.

DISCLAIMER: This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.

 

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