India Today report claims that the news about thousands of trees being axed in Odisha for PM’s helicopter was “false”

A controversy broke out regarding the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Balangir district in Odisha, after some media reports suggested that thousands of trees were uprooted to accommodate his helicopter. The media reports claimed that as many as 3000 trees were cut on a railway track to build a temporary helipad for the Prime Minister. Relying on the media reposts, various political parties including Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal came out to accuse the BJP of hurting the environment for political purposes.

But now, a recent report from the India today suggest, that the previous reports about thousands of trees getting axed for Prime Minister’s helicopter were grossly incorrect and exaggerating. According to the latest India Today report, only a handful of trees and saplings were uprooted.

India Today had contacted senior officials of the East Coast Railway, who denied the allegations that thousands of trees were cut. According to the preliminary probe report by railways, not more than 40 shrubs and saplings were removed. The report stated that about six trees on the railway land were axed and a few pruned to accommodate the arrangements required for the function.

To ascertain the plantation status and greenery of that particular spot where the helipad is located, India Today zeroed-in the exact location on Google earth. The late November 2018 picture of the exact spot shows that it was a vacant land even a month ago. The satellite picture, therefore, debunks the claim that there were thousands of trees in that area. Only a handful of them are visible in the picture.

India Today Fact report claimed that the reports by some media houses regarding cutting of thousands of trees is not true, and that in reality, only a handful of trees were axed and some saplings uprooted.

(the link to India today article:-

https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-no-thousands-of-trees-were-not-axed-to-build-pm-s-helipad-in-odisha-s-balangir-1431628-2019-01-15)

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