Up to 10,000 trees could be felled for the expansion of Uttarakhand’s main airport in Dehradun, the PTI news agency reported on Friday, citing forestry officials. The decision to cut trees in the Thano Range of the Dehradun Forestry Division could affect wildlife in nearby elephant corridors, forestry department sources said.
The government of Uttarakhand has sought approval from the National Wildlife Board to transfer 243 acres of forest land to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to expand Jolly Grant Airport.
“The proposal to transfer 243 acres of forest land to the IAA for the airport extension, including its runway, has been sent to the National Wildlife Board for clearance,” said DJK Sharma, additional chief curator of the forests, to the PTI news agency. Friday.
The area in question is also within a 10 km radius of the eco-sensitive area of Rajaji National Park, according to Sharma.
The wildlife council is now expected to consider the proposal at a meeting on Oct. 5, Sharma said.
The expansion of Jolly Grant Airport is part of the plan to transform it into an international facility. However, it is also of strategic importance to India since Uttarakhand shares its border with China.
The gradual expansion of the runway should make it suitable for all categories of air force aircraft.
Large-scale road construction and widening in Uttarakhand and other Himalayan states in recent years has come under heavy criticism from environmentalists.
Experts have warned of serious damage to the region’s delicate ecology and more frequent natural disasters due to projects that ignore long-term environmental impact.
In 2013, Uttarakhand suffered the country’s worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami, when devastating floods and landslides killed nearly 6,000 people.
With inputs from PTI