Sanjeev K Ahuja | Monday, May 11, 2009 – (Hindustan Times, New Delhi) | The sharmas of Gurgaon thwart attempts to fell trees in the neighborhood
WHERE THERE is will, bulldozers don’t help. The Sharmas of Sarswati Vihar proved just that when they successfully resisted attempts to uproot trees in the locality by a contractor for constructing a road.
The family, talking inspiration from the ‘Chipko’ movement, hugged the trees-some as old as 15 years- when the bulldozer reached their house on May 2.
Stiff resistance from residents notwithstanding, almost two dozen trees had already been felled in the locality , situated just off MG Road, when the Sharmas became one of the few families to stop the bulldozers from running riot.
Forest department officials who reached the spot on Sunday confirmed the felling of trees. However, they said neither the contractor nor the Haryana Housing Board, that awarded the road construction contract, had received the necessary permission for feeling trees to construct lances in Saraswati Vihar.
For the Sharmas the war is far from over. The contractor has threatened to get rid of the trees at a later stage.
“The bulldozer still haunts us. We wake up from our sleep fearing the bulldozer has uprooted the Ashok trees planted by our parents 15 years ago around the boundary wall.
On May 2, we risked our lives. My husband, brother , father in-law and mother –in-law stood between the trees and the raging bulldozer,” said Anjana Sharma, a CRM manager with a private company.
Anjana’s husband Neeraj Shrma-a Software engineer said the police were no help. They refused to intervene when the contractor insisted on getting the trees uprooted. If it were not for the family’s efforts, the bulldozer’s driver would not have given up.
S.P Rawat was not as fortunate. Four up Ashoka trees outside the boundary wall of his house were uprooted. “My wife and I requested the contractor not to cut our trees. But he did not listen, “ he said .
Forest range officer Devender Rao said his department would issue notices to the contractor for uprooting trees without the valid permission. The Haryana Housing Board officials, however, blatantly refused of knowing what was going on at Saraswati Vihar.
“NO tree has been cut in the locality by the contractor. It is only a handful of residents with vested interests who are raising a hue and cry out of RWA politics,” he claimed. The contractor Rajbir Singh was not available for comments.
The Sharma family is worried the contractor will send the bulldozer to uproot their trees again. The forest department official, meanwhile, said neither the contractor nor the Haryana Housing Board had sought permission for felling the trees.
TOUGH JOB WELL DONE
On May 2, the Sharmas face a bulldozer that hat come to uproot trees planted by them outside their house.
The whole family stands between the bulldozers and the trees, daring the bulldozer to charge ahead.
The police didn’t help, alleges Neeraj Sharma. They refused to stop the contractor adamant on cutting the trees.
Forest officials visit Saraswati Vihar, confirm trees have been felled.
They claim the contractor or the state’s Housing Board had not sought the necessary permission to cut trees.