Allahabad High Court Expresses Displeasure Over Tree Felling Amidst 50-Degree Heat

The Allahabad High Court has voiced its concern over the felling of trees in preparation for the Prayagraj Kumbh Mela amidst soaring temperatures reaching 50 degrees Celsius. During a hearing on a public interest litigation against the cutting of roadside trees for road widening, the court criticized the ongoing removal of greenery, highlighting reports of heatstroke-related fatalities.

The Division Bench of Justice M.K. Gupta and Justice Kshitij Shailendra, responding to petitions by local residents Anand Malviya, Shivram Kushwaha, and others, has ordered the Prayagraj Development Authority to file an affidavit detailing the steps taken to implement their tree plantation plan. The Vice President of the authority assured the court that for every tree cut, ten more would be planted, especially focusing on providing shade along major roads like Mahatma Gandhi Marg and Sardar Patel Marg during the rainy season.

The court stressed that the state’s constitutional obligation under Article 47 is to protect the environment and improve public health by maintaining a pollution-free atmosphere. It highlighted the critical nature of these duties under the Right to Life, Article 21 of the Constitution. Given the ongoing fatalities from heatstroke and the threat to public health, the court suggested postponing tree cutting during extreme heat and urged significant tree planting activities in July.

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Furthermore, the court has sought detailed plans from the authorities following the permit issued to fell 1341 trees, including 148 along C.Y. Chintamani Road. This inquiry follows concerns raised about arbitrary decisions by the committee chaired by the ADM of Administration. The Vice President of the Prayagraj Development Authority indicated that tree planting under their supervision is scheduled for July and August, in a bid to mitigate the environmental impact of the extensive tree felling currently underway.

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