Officials said 234 poplar and willow trees were cut. The plantation, which was an attraction among filmmakers and tourists in the city, has been a part of the original layout that synchronised the entries, pathways and the UNESCO-awarded colonial-era building of the Amar Singh College which was built in 1913, art conservator and historian Saleem Beg said.

Officials said 234 poplar and willow trees on the Amar Singh College campus were culled because they posed threat to life and property. However, it is not clear if any risk assessment was taken up. Photo: Ubaid Mukhtar

By Jehangir Ali

New Delhi: An UNESCO-awarded colonial-era building in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir has been allegedly vandalised. The development has angered students, heritage conservationists, historians and environmentalists.

The local administration has justified the culling of dozens of poplar trees along a scenic avenue in Amar Singh College, which is Kashmir’s second oldest college. According to official documents, a tender was floated by the J&K’s State Forest Corporation on May 29, 2019, for removing the trees.

Prof Sheikh Aijaz Bashir, the college principal, said that the proposal was mooted in 2019 when he was not at the helm and the process culminated earlier this month with the removal of 234 poplar and willow trees.

“These trees were decaying and posed a threat to life and property,” Prof Bashir said, “To ensure the safety of more than 4000 college students and staff, they had to be removed.”

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