LAHORE: The Punjab government, in continuation of its policies of making the environment of provincial capital unfriendly, has planned to cut off more 1,300 trees on Canal Road despite a ban on cutting trees, as per the Lahore Canal Heritage Park Act. According to documents available with Daily Times, the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) has identified around 1,300 trees, which would be cut from three different places along the Canal Road, the busiest place of the city, in order to widening of road.The road is being widened at three different sections; section A would be from Thokar Niaz Baig to Doctors Hospital, section B would be from The Mall to Dharampura while section C would be from Dharampura to Harbanspura. The cutting of trees in these three sections has been divided, as 657 trees would be in section A, 69 trees in section B while 575 trees in section C. According to these numbers, section A includes the most number of trees being cut.It is pertinent to mention that the Punjab government has already cut off several thousands of trees in the city in order to widen the roads in different areas including Canal Road, Jail Road-Signal Free Project, Ferozpur Road, Metro Bus route, Multan Road, Orange Line Metro Train route, Extension of Molana Shaukat Ali Road, Raiwind Road and several other roads. In 2009 and 2011, when the Punjab government decided to widen the Canal Road from Doctors Hospital to Mall Road, a case was filed in the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the cutting of trees in which the court directed the government to enact the urban heritage park legislation to protect green belts while widening the roads. In wake of the court’s orders, the Lahore Canal Heritage Park Act 2013 was passed on January 14, 2013.The Lahore Canal Heritage Park Act states, “Whereas the Lahore canal and the green belts on both sides of the canal is a public trust and is part of the heritage of the city of Lahore; therefore, it is expedient to make provisions for the maintenance of a salubrious environment and conservation of the Lahore Canal as a heritage park; to preserve the flora and fauna of this heritage park; and to provide for ancillary matters.”According to Section 3 (5) (8) of the Act, in order to construct any infrastructure development work, clearing or breaking up any land or route for cultivation, mining or for any other purpose is prohibited. Similarly, the subsection 5 (b) states that felling, tapping, burning or in any way damaging or destroying, taking, collecting or removing any plant or canal tree is also prohibited.Talking exclusively with Daily Times, PHA Director General Mian Shakeel confirmed that PHA would cut tress from three places on the Canal Road, adding that besides cutting the trees, PHA would also plant over 5,200 new trees as per the order of Supreme Court (SC). He said that new trees would be planted to maintain the ratio of oxygen in the atmosphere. Replying to a query, he said that PHA is cutting these trees to widen the Canal Road as per the orders of SC and PHA has always maintained and followed the rules and regulations mentioned in LCHP Act.