As a part of a Rs. 217.35 crore scheme to install a sewage and water system in Leh – and “beautify” the main street – trees that have graced the bazaar for over 200 years are all being chopped down. (A crore, by the way is ten million, this project being worth $35.6 million. Oh, and also by the way, my other home – Estes Park –spent a total of around $40 million to recover from devastating floods that also wiped out an equivalent amount of sewage and water systems and roads, in a very non-equivalent economic cost base.)
They don’t have to go. The system could have been put it around these trees. It never occurred to the local Forest Officer that he should question their destruction. Most were gone before a complaint was filed with the State Forestry Officer, who, it is said, rang Jigmet Takpa and asked ARE YOU SLEEPING?
Supposedly the last three trees will be saved. But today workers were high in their branches, cutting off the living stems. And the cows were happy.
Plans for enhancing the heritage of Leh’s one and only “bazaar” where 95% of its heritage buildings have already been torn down? Those of us working in development struggle to admit we are addicted. We struggle to admit we jump into a development plan before thinking it through. And, I fear, sometimes the cows think better than we.
Thanks to the Cave Family for the 1926 photos. Without these reminders we forget so easily.
Here's the announcement story: