| The Kalinga Kanan in Bhubaneswar. Pictures by Sanjib Mukherjee |
Bhubaneswar, Feb. 6: Axe will shortly fall on Kalinga Kanan plantations on the stretch near the Kalinga Stadium as the city administration has decided to build a parking lot along the Airport-Nandankanan Road.
The plan to build a parking lot has sounded the death knell for over 300 fully grown plants.
The city management group, which plans development work in and around the state capital, has decided to give permissive possession to the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to develop a parking lot in consultation with the general administration department and the Bhubaneswar Development Authority.
Environment officer of BMC B.K. Routray said: “We are yet to get the official communiqué in this matter, but all the agencies involved with the parking issue have to devise a plan and decide the next course of action once we get the letter from the government.’’ The BMC had developed the Kalinga Kanan stretch in 2008-09 in collaboration with two mining companies of Odisha.
Though the civic body never spent a penny on the project, the collaborators invested more than Rs 1 crore. In 2012, as the project was lying in utter neglect, another mining company was roped in by the BMC for its maintenance.
“The stretch was perhaps one of the few that could retain its greenery despite lack of proper care by the civic body and theft by vandals. The plantation was built on the theme to spreading awareness about how loss of greenery adversely affected the environment. But a wrong decision of the administration to ensure rapid urban development will kill it,” said environmentalist and Nayapalli resident Bijay Mishra. The police commissioner had raised the parking lot issue at the CMG meeting last week.
He said a huge shopping mall on Bidyut Marg had increased the need for a parking lot in the area.
However, a BMC official felt that except the occasional parking problem near the Tirumala Tirupati Devastanam community hall the road did not face major problems with traffic management.
S.N. Patro of Odisha Environment Society said: “Whether it is a theme greenery or ordinary plantation, trees should not be felled. If it involves a government agency, they should try for an alternative.”
Divisional forest officer Jayanta Das said: “Before felling tress, the agency concerned need to take our permission. We have to see exactly how many trees will be felled. Once that is known, the agencies have to plant saplings 10 times more than the count to compensate for the loss of green cover.”