Ahead of spring, HC orders removal of Russian poplars within month

Ahead of spring, HC orders removal of Russian poplars within month

Srinagar: In a good news for the people allergic to pollens, the J&K High Court Thursday ordered removal of Russian poplars in Srinagar within a month.
“The Deputy Commissioner Srinagar (shall) ensure ban on sale, purchase and plantation of Russian poplars within district Srinagar. Existing (poplar) trees shall be removed within one month,” said a bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey.
Come spring, the poplars shed cottony substance surrounded by invisible pollens. The process usually takes places on last week of April and continues for at least a fortnight or so.
Experts say that pollens make entry into the human body through nose, skin and throat, causing seasonal rhinitis known as pollen allergy and throat infection in some cases. The doctors normally ask people to take preventive measures rather than medicines to keep the perennial irritant at bay.
Following large scale complaints of allergy caused by pollen from poplar trees, the district administration last year imposed a blanket ban on plantation of the trees in this summer capital of state.
The ban orders were passed by the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar who had reasoned that the pollens have become an “irritating nuisance” for the general public particularly for those suffering from chest diseases and the small children.
The DC had subsequently, in exercise of Section 133 of CrPC, imposed complete ban on sale, purchase and plantation of Russian poplar species in entire Srinagar.
The Russian poplar was introduced in Kashmir in 1980s under the Social Forestry Scheme in view of its fast growth.
On Thursday, the court passed the directions while hearing a petition filed by one Mukhtar Ahmad Mir of Zakura here, seeking directions from the court to direct his neighbour to remove the poplars adjacent to his residence.
The petitioner argues that the trees have become health hazard for him and his family.
“The pollen of the poplar trees is proving tremendous health hazard for (me) and (my) family particularly children and (my) old aged mother as it results in the allergy,” Mir has said in his petition.
“During the autumn season, the leaves of the trees fall in the lawn (of my house) which becomes breeding ground for mosquitoes, cockroach, cutworms etc,” says Mir.
Besides, he says, it become a cause of concern for him as trees can fall any time resulting in damage to the inmates of the house as well as the cattle in the cowshed adjacent to his residence.
Meanwhile, the court has granted state government two more weeks to file reply to Mir’s petition. The orders preceded a request by Deputy Advocate General N H Shah.

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