Hawkers are one thing, but the lack of pedestrian space is another
New stalls appear every other day, with the full knowledge of the police and administration
- Published 7.05.19, 4:28 PM
- Updated 7.05.19, 4:28 PM
- 2 mins read
Sir — Calcutta’s Gariahat is famous for its hawkers’ market. But during occasions such as Durga Puja, Kali Puja, chaitra sale and so on, one cannot find space to walk on the footpath; most of it has been taken over. There is encroachment even in surrounding areas such as Dover Lane, Hindustan Road, Hindustan Park and Ballygunge. New stalls appear every other day, with the full knowledge of the police and administration. When will this menace be curbed?
Sir — A few days ago, the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority, which is the custodian of Rabindra Sarobar lake, cut down six siris or Albizia lebbeck trees. The authority has reportedly already earmarked 20 dead and 30 living trees — which might be uprooted and pose a threat to visitors to the lake — for felling. The root systems and stems of these trees have been weakened on account of fungus and termites. Fifteen such trees can be chemically treated and saved; the others cannot.
Nonetheless, doing away with so many living trees is not acceptable. There are many ways to support a frail tree to prevent it from leaning or falling. Trees lean to a side when the roots do not get enough nutrition. Several might tilt because of improper pruning, and can be straightened with cranes. The siris trees were perching grounds for winter birds, including a rare migratory species, and home to owlets. In the light of this, the authority should compensate for the felling by planting more trees at the lake to save the birds. In 2018, a large percentage of saplings died soon after planting because of a lack of care and having been planted in the wrong places.
Sir — The importance of the Rabindra Sarobar Lake does not need to be emphasized. In addition to being the lungs of Calcutta, it has thousands of exotic plants and trees, some of which are very rare. The Central government has rightly declared it a national lake. There has been remarkable development of the area during the past decade.
Unfortunately, however, teenaged boys are regularly seen seen plucking green mangoes from trees in the area, thereby damaging some branches. A few months ago, a dozen boys were seen catching birds with sticks bearing adhesive substances. This is shameful, for the park is one of the only safe places for birds to nest. The park authorities must be more vigilant. Otherwise vandals will cause irreparable damage.
Asit Kumar Mitra,
Sir — It is crucial that the trees around the Rabindra Sarobar Lake be protected and maintained. They are among the last remaining places in the city where rare birds feel safe and can be spotted by bird watchers.