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Priceless trees now have a value!3 min read

February 9, 2021 2 min read


Priceless trees now have a value!3 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

No one can argue that trees are priceless and integral to our existence!

Did you know that a single tree produced 118 kilograms of oxygen every year?!

In an interesting move, a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, based the value of a tree with 100 years of life in it at INR 72 lakhs. This amount was arrived at by taking into account the benefits trees offer life on the planet, including the cost of oxygen emitted into the atmosphere.

Another measure is the age of a tree multiplied by INR 74,500.

Why was the bench set up?

The Government in West Bengal had decided to cut 356 trees to construct 5 railway overbridges over a 59 kilometer stretch. These overbridges (ROBs) will cost a whopping INR 500 crores.

The construction project is a part of a bigger project called Setu Bharatmala by the Central Government. The plan aims to construct 205 railway overbridges (ROBs) and underbridges (RUBs) in 19 states at a cost of INR 20,800 crores.

What an overbridge looks like. Sourced from Economic Times

Under this project, the Centre has sanctioned INR 2,294 crore to West Bengal to construct 22 ROBs and RUBs.

The bench was set up after a Public Interest Litigation was registered to challenge this felling of trees.

What is a PIL?

“A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is a petition that can be filed by any member of the public for any matter of public interest, for redress of public wrong or injury.”
Sourced from HLRN

As part of the project, 50 trees have already been cut. The remaining 306 trees that hold significant heritage value, are valued at INR 220 crore.

If we accept the committee’s report, governments will go bankrupt. The calculations need to be rationalised. After rationalisation, their cost can be built into the project cost.

Justices A. S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, times of India

The findings of the report have made it clear that industrial projects of this magnitude will be highly cost intensive for the government forcing project proponents to look for barren land with little tree cover to host these projects.

The bench also took note of the committee’s findings on exemption of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) allowed to road projects that span an area under 100 kms.

In an attempt to reconcile the cost and environmental concerns, the Supreme Court has asked advocate Prashant Bhushan to draw up a protocol for estimating the cost of a tree and for the legal requirements of the EIA.

The verdict by the Supreme Court will start unfurling in two weeks.

While we wait for the verdict, how about we do our bit by planting a few trees in our garden? Check out Owliver’s Guide to Planting a Tree!

Think with Owliver:
When was the first PIL registered in India? What was it about?
Find out and let Owliver know in the comments, below.

Sourced from Times of India