The true value of a tree, with 100 years of its lifespan remaining, would be Rs.72 lakh, taking into account the benefits it would give to nature and mankind, including the cost of oxygen it would emit to the atmosphere, the Supreme Court was informed on Wednesday.
A bench headed by CJI S A Bobde had set up a committee in February to evaluate the true value of a tree, taking into account all its benefits, including the oxygen it would emit in its lifespan, when a PIL had challenged the West Bengal government's decision to cut 356 trees to construct five railway overbridges (ROBs) costing Rs 500 crore on a 59-km stretch from Barasat to Bongaon on NH-112 (part of NH-35). The committee comprised Soham Pandya, B K Maji, Niranjita Mitra, N K Mukarji and Sunita Narain.
This project is part of the Centre's 'Setu Bharatmala’ programme, which aims to make national highways free of all railway crossings by constructing 208 railway over and underbridges in 19 states at a cost of Rs 20,800 crore. The Centre has sanctioned Rs 2,294 crore to West Bengal for 22 such ROBs and RUBs on NH-112. .