India's Chief Justice SA Bobde on Wednesday turned down a plea to cut trees for road development by the UP Government.
"Why can't the road take a turn around the tree? That will only mean that speed will be slow. If the speed is slow, it will lower accidents and will be more safer," Justice Bobde asked, reports Live Law.
The Public Works Department of Uttar Pradesh Government and the UP Bridge Corporation had filed an application before the Top Court for felling 2,940 trees for the project.
"You can't fell thousands of trees...in the name of Krishna," India's chief justice observed orally.
The counsel for the authority told the bench that the tree loss will be compensated by afforestation and by payment to the tree fund of the forest department.
In this regard, the Bobde observed that the valuation of the trees cannot be done solely on the basis of the timber value.
He told the authorities to evaluate the value of trees by taking into account the amount of oxygen that the trees would have produced in their remaining life span.
"Living trees cannot be evaluated simply on the basis of timber value. Living trees give oxygen. That should be considered in valuation. Oxygen producing capacity of the tree must be evaluated over its remaining life span," Justice Bobde told Senior Advocate Aishwarya Bhati, standing counsel of UP.
Justice Bobde further suggested that instead of cutting trees, roads may be built in a zig-zag manner, which will also lower down the speed of motor vehicles and in turn reduce accidents.
"The only effect that is likely if the trees are retained would be roads which may not be straight and therefore capable of high-speed traffic. Such an effect may not necessarily be deleterious since high-speeds on highways are known to cause accidents," Bobde said.
The application will be listed after four weeks. The State authorities have been asked to submit a report about the different types of trees involved, their age and numbers.