Vijay Pinjarkar 
Nagpur: The official number of trees to be felled for a 10km stretch of National Highway 7 widening has touched 2,576. On Saturday, Ramtek and Paoni range forest officials valuated trees to be cut as per Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court orders for widening of NH7.

By Friday evening, the total number of trees to be felled in the 9km road stretch between Mansar and Chorbahuli was 1,991. This included 1,591 trees in an 8km patch of Ramtek and 400 trees in forest area under Paoni. Work to count trees in the remaining 1km patch under Ramtek range was restarted on Saturday morning.

"Overall, the number of trees to be felled as per court orders has been counted at 2,576. Of the total trees, 2,176 are in 9km road patch in Ramtek range and 400 are near Chorbahuli in Paoni range," said sources.

TOI on Saturday reported that over 2,300 trees will be felled in 10km patch but now the number is even more. As per the ratio of 1:3 for compensatory plantation, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) will have to plant 7,728 trees.
(Although the ecosysytem sustained by the mature trees which may take centuries to establish, will be gone – LF ed.) However, as a large number of trees of various sizes are involved, evaluation is taking time. Till late Saturday night, the forest officials were yet to submit the report.

"Tree felling is not likely to start till the submission of final report on tree demarcation and valuation," said a forest official.

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