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As HC allows rd widening, activists say will fight on

DEHRADUN: After the Uttarakhand high court gave its nod for  felling of around 2,000 for the widening of the 14-km-long Jogiwala-Pacific Golf Estate Road in Sahastradhara, while asking the government to transplant half of the trees that are razed, green activists said they are prepared to keep fighting for the trees to be saved. Activist Ashish Garg, on whose PIL the HC had put a stay on the road widening a month back, told, "We are waiting for the written court order. We will study it thoroughly and then decide the next step. In any case, we are prepared to take this matter further ahead and engage all authorities."
The project, which authorities said was needed to make travel from Doon to Mussoorie faster, has triggered continuous protests by concerned citizens for the last nine months.
Garg said he felt activists weren't heard at all, their suggestions were't taken to arrive at a middle ground. 
"We don't want to obstruct the road widening. In fact, the PWD had earlier taken our suggestion to retain trees on the footpaths. Of the 2057 trees, the court has ordered 1,010 eucalyptus trees to be chopped off and some of the other flowering, fruit bearing and medicinal trees to be transplanted. But in the process, birds like owls, hornbills etc. Will lose their habitats. We will be uprooting a wildlife ecosystem and end up affection the ecology of the Doon valley. It's one of the last green covers left in the city," he said.
Another activist, Nilesh Rathi, said, "There are other ways to reduce congestion on the Doon Mussoorie route rather than chopping trees. If unauthorised parked vehicles, electricity poles and other encroachments are removed, space will open, allowing smooth movement of traffic. Also, there are alternate routes through Tapovan or Maldevta, where tourists can enjoy the scenery and avoid getting stuck in traffic. In all other cities, tourists bypass towns. Why does Doon have to have tourists go right through the centre of the city? We are not against development, all we want is that it's done in a sustainable manner."
Notably, Rs 77 crore from the Central Roads Fund (CRF) was sanctioned for the project, which was proposed in September. Since then residents and activists have been protesting regularly against the proposal by gathering at the site, starting online petitions, generating "tweet stroms" and suggesting alternate routes.

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