The Calcutta High Court today extended a stay on felling of century-old trees for widening and construction of road-overbridges on national highway 112 connecting Bangladesh with the metropolis.
The bench rejected the plea of West Bengal Advocate General Kishore Dutta who sought lifting of the interim stay on felling of the trees.
Dutta submitted before the court that special officers appointed by the court had reported that none of the trees have been declared heritage and that provisions have been made for compensatory plantation of trees in lieu of the felled trees on the flanks of the British-era road that connects Jessore town in Bangladesh with Kolkata.
NH-112, which is known as Jessore Road, extends upto Petrapole on the Indian side of the border and then on to Jessore in Bangladesh.
The A-G submitted that just because the petitioners say that the trees are 100 years old and make an emotional claim for preservation, development work cannot be stalled.
The road was an important one involving connectivity between the two countries and that objections by a few people, none of whom are residents of the area, cannot stand in the way of the important project, he submitted.
The trees need to be felled for constructing road- overbridges across railway lines.
This was needed to do away with level crossings that severely hamper movement of goods and passenger vehicles, he stated.
Opposing the A-G's prayer, petitioner's counsel Bikash Bhattacharya submitted that the state government was flouting laws in felling the trees.
Bhattacharya submitted that he was not against development, but the century-old trees which are considered to be part of this historic road should not be allowed to be felled for the purpose.
Hearing both the parties, the bench extended the stay till November 17.
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