Nalgonda: There have been many instances of district administrations that impose heavy fines on citizens for cutting off Haritha Haram trees or even 'taking into custody' sheep for chewing on certain trees' leaves. However, there is one group of people who get away scot-free after destroying these green drive trees with metal advertising that are nailed to the trunks.
A drive along the Nalgonda District National Highway-65 shows the extent of damage to those trees. The state government has repeatedly stressed the need not only to plant lakhs of saplings across the state as this annual flagship programme is taken up, but also to ensure their survival, which would eventually lead the state to achieve the target of having 33% forest cover. Such metal advertisements can also be found on trees connecting villages with towns that border Panchayat Raj roads. People are accusing municipal officials for their disrespectful attitude toward trees.
As the National Highway grew into a four-lane highway from Hyderabad to Vijayawada, a number of decades-old trees were felled. But hundreds of large trees have survived along the old National Highway-65 at Nakrekal, Narketpally, and Kodad, which has four-lane motorway bypass roads. Some of these trees have five to ten metal ads nailed to their trunks, singing large-sized iron nails that damage the trees.
In addition to this, it was common to nail advertising plates to the trees along with the R&B roads that would link the villages with the towns. Most of the advertising plates that appeared in the trees belong to fertilizers, seed firms, and hospitals. In violation of Supreme Court clear order, they were indiscriminately nailing the advertising plates to the trees stating that no public property including trees can be used for any private ads.
Environmentalist M Suresh Guptha said that nails slammed deep into tree trunks to repair advertising plates would hurt trees as nutrients and water vessels will be damaged affecting trees growth. The damaged part will also get rotted resulting in the surrounding tissues being destroyed. By weakening them it will decrease the tree's life span. Such trees will be uprooted during heavy rains and winds or fall down, he said.
He urged the district authorities to take action to remove the nails and iron wires used by some individuals to install advertising plates on the trees and to preserve the trees for environmental protection.