The protest against the proposed construction of an MLA rest house in Bhopal is growing as it would require the felling of hundreds of trees on lush green Arera Hills in the Madhya Pradesh capital. The assembly secretariat had recently approved the construction of the new MLA rest house for the lawmakers, which is expected to come upon the Arera Hills adjoining the Madhya Pradesh Assembly complex. The project, which has already seen the felling of around 1,150 trees, may result in cutting down several hundred more.
The Madhya Pradesh Assembly is determined to build new rest houses for MLAs by sacrificing greenery. To fulfil this insistence, the Capital Project Administration (CPA) gave such a report of environmental clearance, in which there is a huge flaw in the facts. The then Chief Conservator of Forests of the CPA, Sudeep Singh, has reported in writing to the Superintending Engineer of the Building Controller of the CPA Assembly that 3372 trees have been replaced in place of cutting 1149 trees.
This information was sent on 18 May 2018, in which a list of species-wise plants along with photos was also given. It explained where the plants planted and what is their present condition. But, when the report was investigated, it was found that there is no photo in the office copy of the CPA Forest Board. Not only this, the plants which were not planted as in the report, have also said to be alive.
The project is being envisaged despite several housing facilities being in existence for the MLAs, including MLA quarters built in the past in Jawahar Chowk, Depot area, Rivera Town and an under-construction multi-storied housing complex coming up for public representatives in Gautam Nagar area.
Earlier, the project was proposed during the BJP government as well but was rolled back after facing public ire. The former assembly speaker Sitasaran Sharma said, "Our government had rolled back the project after public anguish was visible and then the Chief Minister (Shivraj Singh Chouhan) intervened."
The CPA will build the rest house on the Arera Hills. According to reports three BHKs houses will be made for MLAs. In its first phase, 5 buildings are being constructed. It will be six to seven storeys. There will be modern facilities for the stay of MLAs in the project of about 80 crores. The project has been openly opposed due to the felling of trees. The CPA and the municipal corporation are overseeing the project. Apart from the approval of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), all departmental permission has been taken for the project.
(with ANI inputs)