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Chipko movement in Jammu: People hug trees to protest axing of Raika forest for new High Court

Last Updated on March 19, 2021 at 5:28 pm

Many young volunteers are following features of 1973’s Chipko Movement in order to save more than 38,000 trees, various species of flora and fauna and a huge chunk of green cover at Raika Forests in Jammu. This all is planned to cut down for construction of the new High Court complex.

Under the banner of Climate Front India, many volunteers belonging to various age groups commemorated Valentine’s Day by hugging the trees and spreading message among masses. Anmol Ohri, Founding Director Climate Front India, said that this symbolic protest was done to show the authorities that youth cares about climate change.

He said that they intentionally launched this symbolic protest on Valentine’s Day in order to attract more youth towards the cause. He said that if the authorities don’t change their plans then they will do the same. He said that if there is a need, then they will also approach the Supreme Court to save the green cover of Jammu.

Anmol told The Typewriter that we all need to understand how important these forests are. He demanded that the government should adopt a more sustainable form of infrastructure in place of developing infrastructure over Forest land which is already shrinking in our country. He also alleged that the Forest Department approved proposal on said land without considering its adverse impact on the environment and wildlife.

He said that laws are blatantly being violated while allotting the forest land for the expansion of Jammu and Kashmir High Court premises. Jammu Development Authority (JDA) should have provided land for the construction of judicial infrastructure. He claimed that since JDA has more than 80,000 kanals of land in Jammu region,so they could have easily allotted the land.

He said that the Bahu conservation reserve are the lungs of Jammu region as it provides fresh air to the region. Deforestation of it turn Jammu into a gas chamber and will cause harm to people’s health.

The proposed construction site is also located inside the eco-sensitive zone of Ramnagar Wildlife Sanctuary. The aerial distance of the proposed site from the wildlife sanctuary is just 3.75 kms. The construction proposal was approved under Jammu and Kashmir Forest Conservation Act, 1997 which states that the forest clearance shall be given for only 5 hectares of land. Apparently, 40.65 hectares of forest land is allotted for construction in a hurry violating the Jammu and Kashmir Forest Conservation Act, 1997.