Monday, October 19, 2020

Locals oppose proposal to axe 10,000 trees for expansion of Dehradun airport

Dehradun: Hundreds gathered outside the Dehradun Airport on Sunday to demonstrate against the proposed felling of more than 10,000 trees. Seen holding placards that read 'Save Thano', the demonstrators were also seen hugging the trees.

The demonstration was triggered by Uttarakhand government's decision to seek the National Wildlife Board's approval for transfer of 243 acres of forest land to the Airport Authority of India (AAI). If granted, over 10,000 trees could be axed in the Thano range for expansion of Dehradun's Jolly Grant Airport.

While defending its request for the expansion, the state government cited Dehradun airport's proximity to the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Uttarakhand shares a border with China, imparting strategic importance to the Jolly Grant Airport, the Uttarakhand government said.

In June of this year, the Uttarakhand State Wildlife Advisory Board approved the transfer of 73 hectares of forest land within the protected Gangotri National Park. This area will be utilised for the construction of three strategically important roads that will ease the movement of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) to the India-China border.

At present, the runway at Dehradun's Jolly Grant Airport is 2,140 m long. Apart from a new terminal that is likely to be completed by October 2021, the AAI has proposed that the length of the runway be extended to 2,765 m.

The upgradation which is being done within a budget of Rs 353 crore is expected to increase the Dehradun airport's capacity by eight-fold.

19/10/20 India Today

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