Row erupts as century-old trees axed at Amritsar's Urban Haat

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 7

A controversy erupted after nearly century-old trees were chopped in the Urban Haat area here a few days ago.

Urban Haat came on the 125-year-old British Colonial era building of Victoria Jubliee Hospital established in 1891

The incident drew the ire of several environment and heritage lovers. Earlier, too, an age-old Peepal tree was axed by negligent authorities. At that time as well, much hue and cry was raised, but it proved to be futile as authorities turned a blind eye to this.

Environmentalist Deepak Babbar said it pained him to see the green heritage of the city being plundered by people for their vested interests while authorities preferred to look the other way rather than taking action.

Urban Haat came on the 125-year-old British Colonial era building of Victoria Jubliee Hospital established in 1891. The SAD-BJP government had restored and revamped the building in consultation with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage in 2015 after spending huge amounts with an aim to boost the tourism in Amritsar. The building, which was lying abandoned, is located on the prime location near the Historical Company Bagh, around 1.5 km from Golden Temple.

Initially, the government had decided to develop the replica of the famous Lahore Food Street to boost the city’s tourism. Now, the project has been given to a private firm which is now reportedly converting the building into a hotel. The Amritsar Development Authority had sublet it to a Bathinda-based firm Food Library in November 2018.

Amarjit Singh, marketing head of the firm, said a thorough process was followed and an auction was conducted by the PUDA in this connection. “We have followed the due process and took the requisite permission from the authorities in this regard. We are developing the structure in a phased manner. The trees would have blocked the entrance of several shops being constructed as a part of the project,” he added.

Row erupts as century-old trees axed at Amritsar's Urban Haat
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