YET another instance of mindless destruction of forests: a pine forest, specially grown at a cost of Rs 10 lakh a decade ago, will be razed to make way for a VIP, complex close to the Raj Bhawan in Gangtok, Sikkim. More than 1,150 conifers, which formed a botanical garden of pine trees, are to be axed. The conifers were artificially raised to sustain the delicate balance of the Himalaya.
The state government's move has sparked off angry protests from citizens who have alleged that the government had not obtained the essential environment and forest clearances. The state government has reportedly turned a deaf ear to all protests, even to the environment ministry's query seeking an explanation for its apathy towards forests. The state has a poor record in maintaining its wooded areas.