Protests in Uttarakhand’s Thano forest after government plans to cut 10,000 trees

Thousands of people have recreated the Chipko Movement in Uttrakhand’s Thano forest to save 10,000 trees from being cut. The Dehradun Government is planning to transfer 243 acres of the forest to the Airport Authority of India (AAI), for their expansion plans to start international flights.

Jollygrant Airport Director D K Gautam told ANI, “For the airport expansion, the state government will denotify forest reserve according to the norms of the Environment Ministry. As far as trees are concerned, there would be plantation at some other place.”

People who have come to protest from Rishikesh and Haridwar had tied ‘raksha sutras’ around the trees, pledging to protect them. Environmentalists are concerned that cutting these trees will impact the movement of wild animals, especially since this area lies within 10 km of the Rajaji National Park.  The elephant corridors will also be affected. People have been chanting slogans and also signing online petitions to protect these trees against felling.