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Colossal loss:The BRTS Road at Hanumantavaka in Visakhapatnam, with no greenery on either side, presents a sorry look.
VISAKHAPATNAM: The suburbs are literally feeling the heat with the cutting down of trees in the laying of the two Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) corridors.
It is in stark contrast to the afforestation that has been taking place in Visakhapatnam Steel Plant township, keeping it cool.
Against the norm that 33 per cent of the total area should come under green cover, the steel plant has 41 per cent cover, about 3,600 ha. Sources in the steel plant say so far the number of saplings planted since the plant came into existence is 48 lakhs.
As the capacity of the plant increases, per each ton a sapling is added. When the plant's capacity was 3 million tons it had 30 lakh plants,
At any given time the temperature in the township is four degrees less than in the city, plant officials say.
Environmental measures taken at the time of design of plant are attributed to the low temperature.
The 32-km BRTS corridors on the other hand have taken their toll of the greenery with tress, particularly on the outskirts, being cut down.
It is officially estimated that around 1,400 useful trees have been uprooted for expansion of the road on the Pendurti corridor. Under the WALTA Act, the GVMC has paid Rs.110, including Rs.10 as service charge for each tree besides a commitment to plant new saplings at the rate of 1:2 i.e., 2,800.
Sources say that on the 13.5 km Simhachalam corridor most of the land acquired is private and the owners have cut down the trees. However, very big trees have been felled denuding the pig farm, close to the national highway, that has been shifted to make way for the BRTS corridor.
A Vanamahotsavam was celebrated and around 1,000 saplings planted at Mudasarlova. Another 800 were planted at the Old Sewage Farm in the One Town area. Similarly, right from near LG Polymers a number of big trees that used to give protection from heat were uprooted on the Pendurti corridor.
Sources said the Horticulture wing of the GVMC had been asked to take up a drive and plant saplings.
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