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Chipko Movement: Protesting Nagpur youngsters hug trees to be axed by NHAI for Ajni station

Nagpur citizens protesting against NHAI's

Nagpur citizens protesting against felling of Ajni trees for NHAI’s inter-modal station

The Chipko movement originated in Uttar Pradeshs Mandal village in 1973, which was triggered by government’s decision to allot forest land to a sports goods company that had prompted the Union government to amend the Indian Forest Act (1927) and introduce the Forest Conservation Act (1980). 

The movement had caught world-wide attention and is still followed by many NGOs and activists till date, to protect the environment. 

In one such similar case in Nagpur, around 150 Nagpur activists, under the banner of Save Ajni Vann, had gathered at Ajni on Sunday to protest against National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI) project of inter-modal station, which would lead to felling of more than 4000 trees of the Ajni Forest.

The protest was followed by Chipko movement, where the activists hugged the trees that were marked to be cut for the project. 

The citizens, during the movement, promised their allegiance towards protection of trees, nature and environment, Kunal Mourya, one of the organizers of the event, told Nation Next. 

Surprisingly while NHAI had been saying only 1950 trees would be cut, the freshly painted numbers went well above 4000. The survey by NMC is still on, as many more trees are being identified and marked to be cut, he said.

Before the Chipko movement took place, the organisers had led the activists for a walk on the narrow lanes of the colony . Later, they all gathered below a 100-year-old tree which nested three spotted owls, a pair of grey hornbills, around four to five Yellow footed green pigeon (state bird of Maharashtra) and over a dozen parakeets all chirping and perching.

The organisers briefed the citizens that the movement was against the proposed cutting of large number of trees and that since the project was multi phased and spread over 490 acres, the main motive behind such a project was acquiring the forest land for commercial purposes.

Organisers explained how alternative areas were not explored and the selection of Ajni for IMS project was a window towards further infrastructure projects like malls, commercial complexes and offices which would destroy the lungs of Nagpur.

We were all aghast to see that huge trees were marked to be cut including the one, which had many bird species residing on it. Day by day, more and more people are visiting the Ajni forest to walk and take in the fresh air. The movement to Save Ajni Vann? is gaining momentum faster than expected.

Now, the authorities will have to listen to the common man, otherwise the uprising of our protests would take mammoth proportions, he added.

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