April 2020 News

Poplar Felling Draws Mixed Reactions In Kashmir

7 April 2020
Kashmir Observer

Srinagar: Kashmiri Netizens are locking horns over the government's latest order to fell some 'tens of thousands of female poplars within 10-days', according to a report published in a leading Indian daily, The Hindu. Quoting Kashmir Province Divisional Commissioner, PK Pole, the report said that all female poplar trees within 500 metres of habitations 'should be felled in ten days'. Dotting picturesque landscape in city as well as in countryside, Kashmir is home to millions of such trees. Unofficial estimates suggest Kashmir is home to over 15 million such trees. They dot all the highways, urban and rural pockets in Kashmir. Along with many environmentalists, netizens cutting across their professions have warned of dire consequences if the trees are cut. According to a study, only 26 of 46 Russian poplar species cause allergies. Amid the raging debate on the mass felling of poplars, some experts and activists argue that more research is needed to prove that only poplar pollens cause springtime health hazard in the valley. The order infuriated many amid the current Covid-19 lockdown. However, keeping a stark health warning in view, some netizens are endorsing the official stand, saying that poplar pollens can aggravate the Covid-19 pandemic in the valley. But the overwhelming response on the social media only makes the move hasty and unpopular.