Bhubaneswar, July 29: The state government is planning to construct a road through the horticulture nursery and orchard at Nayapalli by felling around 2,000 trees. This, despite the Centre celebrating 2012 as the year of horticulture.
The 100ft-wide road will run parallel to the CRPF Group Centre here.
The proposed road, which will connect the existing Kalinga Studio-Rental Colony Road to the CRP Square-Ekamra Kanan Road, will require a large number of trees to be felled. Most importantly, many old mother plants producing high-value fruit-bearing saplings through grafting will be lost. The horticulture nursery and orchard near the horticulture directorate will lose nearly three acres of fertile land.
The decision is contrary to the state government’s notification on May 26, which declared the Chandaka Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary an eco-sensitive zone and banned major civil construction from taking place within a 10-km radius of the zone. The proposed road would lie within 500 metres of the sanctuary.
Pradeep Kumar Tarai, honorary secretary of the Rental Colony Eco-Development Committee, said: “The decision is unnecessary because an existing road already passes through the VIP Colony area to link Jayadev Vihar to Kalinga Studio Road.”
“The orchard will lose more than 500 mother plants that are 20-25 years old. The trees are mainly used for preparation of grafts and providing saplings for farmers and horticulturists,” said state horticulture department director Sanjeev Chadha.
Bijay Kumar Samal, another green activist from Rental Colony, said: “In May, the general administration department had allowed the occupation of 21 acres from the farms of Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology for expansion of the airport and the university lost valuable land where upland rice varieties were developed.”
Pradeep Kumar Sahu, an advocate, said besides old fruit-bearing mother plants, the orchard was also home to many reptiles and birds since it lied close to the to the sanctuary.
“If the road is allowed to be built, the animals will be in great danger,” he said.
Senior CRPF officials said they would react to the proposal at the right forum. “The local civic authorities had assured us an encroachment-free green surrounding. If the new road is permitted, an existing green zone will be lost,” said an official.
An official of the general administration department said the road had been proposed in the city’s master plan.
Contacted, officials of the GA Department said``The road was proposed in the master plan,''.
Tarai feared that with the right side of CRPG Group Centre campus conncted with the proposed road, the center will be more vulnerable to external threats.
Sources in the Agriculture Department said`the department would lodge protest with the authorities concerned against the proposed road as the fertile land of 3 acres will be lost completely. The activities of the nursery will be affected by the road.’’
Noted environmental activist SN Patro, who opposed a proposed crafts and hand loom institute inside the Jaydev Vatika near Khandagiri-Udaygiri in September 2010, said ``the institute was about to fell more than 10,000 plants but the plan was stalled due to protests. "