Chennai: The 58 trees inside the Egmore Eye Hospital, saved a month ago by a restraining order from the Madras High Court, would be axed after all, as the top court in the State has given its nod to the institution. The eye hospital, which has been sanctioned funds for necessary expansions, had made plans to axe the trees to facilitate construction.

The court order preventing the institution from cutting the trees was granted in a PIL filed by a resident of the area. The 58 trees were all ancient and part of the ecosystem, the PIL had noted, while urging the top court to help the years-long members of the yard to survive till their natural death. The court, which had then stopped the institution from axing the trees, had asked the Tamil Nadu agricultural university to constitute a panel and give their advice. The panel had submitted that the plans to axe the trees where Among the 58 trees identified in the hospital 22 have already crossed 60% of their expected life span and only 19 of the trees are in a condition to survive a relocation. The submission of the institution promises to undertake relocation wherever possible, with utmost care. They have also pointed out to the 500 recently planted new saplings which could sustain the ecology.

The 200-year-old Opthalmology hospital is the second oldest in the world and Rs 66 crore has been spent on building the modern hospital on the campus.