THE 16 trees which were removed from Jalan Masjid Negeri in Penang have been successfully replanted on the grounds of the state government quarters.
The trees, mostly Angsana aged between 30 and 40 years, were relocated to make way for the 1.8km road-widening project.
They are ‘responding’ well to their new environment in Jalan Batu Lanchang.
“The trees will be taken care of for about a year by contractors who have their arborists and experts to ensure the roots are entrenched,” said Penang Island City Council Engineering Department deputy director A. Rajendran.
“Contrary to views that the trees may die, we have been successful in replanting and found that the fertile soil inside have helped the trees,” said Rajendran.
“We were very careful when removing the trees. There was minimal damage to the roots and we cut few branches to ensure a higher chance of growth,” he added.
The removal of the trees created much hue and cry from the public and environmentalists with some claiming that the ‘heritage’ trees shouldn’t be felled.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had then said that the state government was in a quandary as people wanted better roads but refused to acknowledge that the trees had to be removed for the road-widening project.
Meanwhile the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) said it was unlikely that the relocated trees would survive the next 20 years.
“The trees were there for more than 30 years with their roots running deep and removing them would have damaged the roots, thus shortening their life span,” said CAP president S.M. Mohamed Idris.
“It’s a common fact that uprooted trees do not survive long even if they are diligently taken care of after being replanted,” he added.
He said the state government did not get its priorities right because an extended road would bring more traffic into the area, creating further congestion.