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| Last Updated:22/11/2018

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1,200 trees around Taj to be translocated

LUCKNOW: The expansion of roads the around Taj will not cost green trees their life. The trees along the stretch will not be felled but 'safely' translocated to another site to grow.

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has paid state government Rs 1.2 crore to 'translocate' some 1,200 trees, still young and green, from NH-2 in Agra to an alternative site a few kilometers away from the place of construction.

The UP government has outsourced the `translocation' work to a private agency which will dig out trees, transport them to the new site and re-plant. NH-2 has to undergo expansion at Agra and Mathura.

Supreme Court had suggested UP government to translocate trees along the highway than getting them chopped. Forest department officers identified at least 1,200 trees fit for translocation but what delayed the work was lack of technology.

After floating the tender thrice, UP Forest Corporation has now outsourced the work to a private agency which will also take care of re-planted trees till they regenerate. "We have got the money to do work in Agra and will soon start the work," said managing director, UP Forest Corporation, Iqbal Singh. Separate agencies will carry out the work in Agra and Mathura.

Translocation is a fairly new technique and it is for the first time that trees will be `translocated' in UP. It is done using a specially designed machine (at present only Gujarat has it) which costs not less than Rs 2 to Rs 3 crore. Sources in the government said that to invest such a huge amount to translocate 1,000-odd trees is not viable. Work, therefore, has been outsourced.

Instead of cutting down age-old trees for development activities, translocating young trees to an alternative site, made ready for plantation in advance, can save lot of trees which still have years of life left. By translocating a full-grown tree to another site, environmental value is preserved because oxygen generated by a little sapling is no way comparable to the quantity generated by a quintal of foliage of a full grown tree.

Besides, in a state like UP where pressure of population on roads and traffic flow is increasing, road widening is a frequent activity. Since permission to cut down trees for development activities cannot be denied, translocation is a way out.