A PWD project to broaden a 500-metre stretch of national highway 17 at Porvorim has irked tree lovers, who have raised apprehensions that more than 30 trees may be weakened at the roots after the work is completed.
A large part of the stretch from a starred hotel to Jeevottam Mutt is lined with flowering trees, three huge banyans and a mango tree. "In the haste to meet some deadline, the work is being done rapidly," Porvorim resident S Kamat said.
Digging activity is on, but though not all trees may be axed, citizens say they could lose their bearings. "It appears the work involves cutting some trees and excavations very close to the tree roots, which will lead to the trees withering and toppling in the long run," Kamat said.
PWD highways section has planned the widening of the highway on the stretch, as it is a bottleneck causing traffic jams in the area.
Citizens said there is an option to broaden the road from the eastern side. "The authorities have forgotten or ignored that additional road width is available on the road's right hand side," Kamat said. Utilizing the eastern side for broadening is a better option. "No trees exist on this side," a citizen added.
Some citizens have decided to organize a stand-in, silent protest at Porvorim on Thursday, at 5pm. "We will hold placards to save the trees," Pravin Sabnis, a tree lover said.
"The protest will be a silent one because trees are silent sufferers," Kamat added.
PWD officials are considering public suggestions on the issue. "We are looking into the possibility of widening the road from the eastern side, as suggested," highways section executive engineer Ulhas Kerkar, said. [TOI]