Vrindavan, 2016.07.07 (VT): A four-member team of the Braj-Vrindavan Heritage Alliance visited the Sunrakh Van forest to inspect the survival of the trees planted by the forestry department in the last three years. The team led by Baba Madan Bihari Das of Tatiasthan found that the number of surviving trees was far less than that those that were supposed to have been planted over the past three years.
They found the wall on the roadside was broken, which allowed the cattle to roam inside the forest area destroying the trees. They demanded the protection of the Sunrakh Van. Expressing his anguish, Baba Madan Bihari said, “We worked very hard to get trees planted in the Sunrakh Van. It was being illegally encroached. We went to the then District Magistrate Shri Vishal Chauhan to get the trees planted in the reserve forest. The DM responded positively and ordered the Forestry Department to organize massive tree plantation. Following the instruction from the District Magistrate the Forestry Department organized the Van Mahotsava, in which more than a thousand trees were planted in a single day, with a promise to plant more. The District Magistrate himself planted a few trees along with the Superintendent of Police and other District Officials. But not many of the trees planted there have survived.”
Acharya Naresh Narayan said, “In the ceremony when the trees were being planted the officers announced that some water bodies would be built in the reserve forest for water harvesting purposes. But we don’t see any water body here. They also announced that a nature trail will be developed so that residents and visitors alike can get a glimpse of a Vrindavan forest and enjoy the natural environment.”
“We must revive the forests of Vraja by planting more and more trees. We can’t rely on the government for the tree plantations. The forestry department hasn’t planted a single tree inside the Vrindavan Municipal Area in the last decade. It is the non-governmental organizations who plated the trees in Vrindavan,” said Jagannath Poddar.
Shri Purushottam Sharma lamented, “The government doesn’t plant the trees, when some individual or organization plant trees they are served notices by the government department and punished with fines.”
Finally the BVHA activists decided to communicate with the authorities to protect the forest land and become transparent about their green operation. If it is felt to be necessary, the BVHA will make an application based on the Public Interest Litigation pending in the court, which in 2010 prohibited all cutting of trees in Vrindavan.