The Chinar trees of Naseem Bagh planted by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan are nearly 335 years old and each one of them may cost up to 2.49 crore ( 24.9 million) rupees, according to a monetary assessment made by a Supreme Court-appointed committee.
Kashmir is home to nearly 35,400 Chinar trees – which is classified as Royal Tree of Kashmir and requires lopping permission from the administration – some of which were five to six centuries ago.
The Supreme Court-appointed committee put the monetary worth of a tree at 74,500 rupees multiplied by its age, setting a guideline for the first time in India on the valuation of trees, reported Hindustan Times.
Out of this, as per the report, the cost of oxygen alone is ₹45,000, followed by the cost of biofertilisers, which are worth ₹20,000.
The report was submitted before a Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, that had asked the committee to determine the economic value of trees based on the cost of oxygen they release and other benefits to the environment.
The report added that the five-member committee of experts added that a heritage tree with a lifespan of well over 100 years could be valued at more than ₹1 crore. It also claimed that the monetary value of a project is sometimes far less than the economic and environmental worth of the felled trees.
The court was hearing a case relating to cutting down of 356 trees for construction of five railway over-bridges (ROBs) in West Bengal, appointed a committee of five experts — Nishikant Mukerji (managing director, Tiger Environment Centre), Soham Pandya, (secretary and executive director at the Centre of Science for Villages), Sunita Narain (director, Centre for Science and Environment), Bikash Kumar Maji (assistant chief engineer, ROB unit, West Bengal government) and Niranjita Mitra (division forest officer, North 24 Parganas).