In a bid to save what they call the only green lungs left in Noida, residents of Sector 98B came together to start a on Saturday. The protest was organised to save the nearby City Forest area that has seen massive in the past few months. According to the residents, over 3,000 trees have been cut down in the area in order to build a park which will comprise an , a multi-purpose hall and a food court. EP Singh, a resident of Sector 98B, said, “The forest has and many other varieties of trees. The authorities have started cutting trees, citing the reason that they consume a lot of ground water. Due to deforestation, the ecosystem of the forest, which houses birds, deers and other animals, is completely destroyed. The authorities want to build an amphitheatre and food courts here, but doesn’t Noida already have many of them? We don’t want any more construction. We want this area to remain as a city forest and we ask the authorities to restore the damage that has been done here.”
Noida‘s version of the Chipko movement
Many say that the parks can be built anywhere, but we should not tamper with the area’s ecosystem. Vineet Agarwal, a resident of Sector 98B, told us, “For short term gains let’s not forget long term losses. We can build a park anywhere in Noida, but why to tamper with a forest’s ecosystem for the same? Also, every society in Noida already has its own park, so I don’t see the need to cut all the trees and kill this oxygen bank of the city just to build another one. Noida has less than 3% of forest cover and this step will destroy that too. I don’t think we can allow that.”
Kids as young as seven took part in the protest
Hitesh Malik, another resident of Sector 98B, said, “I simply don’t see any logic in this project. The forest has its own ecosystem, a variety of animals live here and the authorities are destroying all that. We often see nilgais and deers on the roads these days, mostly because a large part of the forest is chopped off by the authorities. This is disheartening and we don’t want this to happen to the only forest left in Noida.”
Chhavi Methi, a environmental activist and a resident of Sector 50, said, “As citizens we are against this biodiversity park because already a lot of biodiversity is dependent on this forest. Different animals and many species of birds live in this forest and to protect them we will intensify our protest if the authorities don’t listen. They should come to the table and discuss what they are actually planning to do with this land as they can’t just chop the whole forest in one go and let all the animals wander around.”
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