Srinagar: Observing Russian poplar trees are a health hazard, the J&K high court has directed all deputy commissioners to file report detailing how they have complied with its directions calling for cutting these trees in the Valley.
“Enormous plantation and growth of poplar trees of Russian Species are allegedly proving catastrophic and a big health hazard. Can such a nuisance be allowed to exist totally to the discomfort of the human beings? Answer has to be no. The trees which are proving dangerous and threat to the healthy life can be categorized as being public nuisance,” a bench justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir observed while hearing a petition filed by one Haji Ghulam Mohidin of Srinagar, seeking directions from the court to remove the poplars adjacent to his residence at Zakura here.
The Russian poplar was introduced in Kashmir in 1980s under the Social Forestry Scheme in view of its fast growth.
“Allegedly almost all the elderly people and children are coughing. People are voicing concern as against the violent and allergic affects of poplar seeds as the cottony pollen has created panic and has made the living of human beings, more particularly of the elders and the children uncomfortable,” the court said.
In May last year, the high court had directed all deputy commissioners in the Valley to issue appropriate orders for the axing of the poplars.
“Tehsildars of all tehsils shall be personally responsible for ensuring the compliance of the orders which would be passed by all deputy commissioners of the Valley,” the court had said.
The cottony pollen which the plants shed for about a fortnight beginning the last week of April is one of the major sources of respiratory allergies.
Following large scale complaints of allergy caused by pollen from poplar trees, the district administration in 2014 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 with the observation that the pollen have become an “irritating nuisance” for the general public particularly for those suffering from chest diseases and small children.
The deputy commissioner had subsequently, in exercise of Section 133 of CrPC, imposed complete ban on sale, purchase and plantation of Russian poplar species in entire Srinagar.