Amritsar, August 7
While the district administration has launched an extensive tree-plantation drive to increase the green cover in the city, many of the existing green belts alongside roads are under threat from encroachers.
An apt example of encroachments on green belts is alongside the road from the Kacheri chowk to Ranjit Avenue. From storing junk to parking ambulances and school buses, the green belt is used for almost every purpose except that for which it is meant.
The wall demarcating the road and the green belt has been demolished by the encroachers, so that they can park their vehicles. The belt has nothing green except the tall standing weeds.
The district administration and many NGOs are already identifying spaces in the city where trees can be planted. A resident, Kewal Singh, suggested, “The green belts should be used to plant trees. Even in places where green belts have not yet been encroached upon, there are not enough trees.” He said green belts were demarcated in all colonies planned by the government in the city.
It has also been seen that green belts in many localities are used as private lawns by nearby residents and the back doors of their homes open in the belt. Some even use these places to cultivate vegetables for their kitchens. In many areas, the demarcation of green belts has almost eroded and people have constructed structures for parking of vehicles.
Harjap Singh, a retired school teacher, said, “The first priority of the administration regarding these green belts should be to use them for the purpose for which these belts were created. It will be great if trees are planted in all these belts and encroachments are removed.”
The residents feel that if no action is taken against the people causing damage to the green belts, it will embolden others and encourage them to occupy the area adjoining their houses for personal use.