Environmental activists and local residents on Sunday protested outside Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport on Sunday against the proposed cutting of more than 9,745 trees in Thano forest for expansion of the airport.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) had recently asked the Uttarakhand government to consider another area for the expansion. “Out of the 87.0185 ha proposed area to be diverted, 47 ha area falls under MDF (moderately dense forest)… (state government) may explore alternatives for the proposal such as acquiring area lying north of existing runway,” read a letter by the MoEF’s forest conservation division to the Uttarakhand Forest Department. “The entire proposed forest area for diversion falls within the Shivalik Elephant Reserve and elephant corridors within its 1 km radius.”
The expansion project includes development of the airport, parking area, a new ATC tower and extending the existing runway to 3.5 km to meet international airport standards.
Holding placards and wearing masks, protesters on Sunday demanded that trees should not be cut and that forest experts and local residents should have been consulted during the planning process.
Running social media campaigns to save the trees, activists said they will also launch a mass awareness campaign soon.