After public flak, authorities stop construction near Chinars at Polo View

Authorities on Monday stopped construction work along a pavement at Polo View here after public raised apprehensions of damage to the centuries-old Chinar trees there. 

On Tuesday afternoon, many passersby stopped near the spot and using their smartphones clicked pictures of the “damage done” to the Chinar trees.

Authorities were prompted to take action after many netizens posted photographs and videos of the site on various social networking websites.

Deputy commissioner Srinagar Syed Abid Rasheed Shah said that as of now work has been stopped. “We will ensure that no Chinar is damaged under any circumstances,” he said, adding that he will take all necessary steps to save these Chinars which are a part of Kashmiri culture.

Earlier, people expressed serious resentment over the move. “These are 600-year-old Chinars which they want to axe. This is a well planned strategy to let Chinars dry after exposing their roots,” said a passerby Mushtaq Ahmad Mir, who runs readymade garments shop at Rainawari. “On seeing this, I felt my roots were cut,” said Mir.

Another local Sheikh Shafiq, who occasionally comes to his hometown due to job in Abu Dhabi said: “I was travelling in a bus. The scene struck me. How can they axe down an ecological heritage?”

Chinar is considered an important part of Kashmir’s identity. The tree has found mention in famous poetry works and books.

According to official figures, there were over 40,000 Chinar trees in Kashmir ’70s. However, the number has fallen to around 5,000 by the turn of the century.

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