When the government of West Bengal announced their intention to widen roads and construct roads over bridges (ROBs) by way of cutting trees, a petition was filed pleading to discard this decision.
The petition was filed in Supreme Court by Association for Protection of Democratic Rights and was heard by a three judge bench of Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
The decision of the Court took in notice the gravity of the climate change issue and how it has become a grave national and international concern. They decided to constitute a seven-member committee to develop a set of scientific and policy guidelines that shall govern decision making with respect to cutting of trees for developmental projects.
The order of the Court read “The guidelines may specify the species of trees in categories based upon their environmental values considering the age and girth of the trees etc, the Court said.It may provide special treatment for geographical area or eco-sensitive areas, it”.
The committee will be headed by Dr. MK Ranjitsinh Jhala, a wildlife expert and former Chairman of the Wildlife Trust of India. The following are the other members of the committee :
- Jigmet Takpa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change- Member Secretary of the Committee;
- Arun Singh Rawat, DG, Indian Council for Forestry Research-Member;
- Prof. Sandeep Tambe, (Indian Forest Service), currently working as Professor of Forestry at the Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal- Member;
- Gopal Singh Rawat, former Dean and Director, Wildlife Institute of India- Member;
- Dr. Nilanjan Ghosh, Director, Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata, an expert in ecological economics- Member and
- Pradeep Krishen, Environmentalist- Member
The court expects a report laying down guidelines on cutting trees for developmental projects from the committee.