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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Delhi's trees to be counted, saved

Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 18, 2012
First Published: 00:40 IST(18/10/2012) | Last Updated: 01:29 IST(18/10/2012)

Delhi chief secretary Praveen Kumar Tripathi on Wednesday said the government would carry out a city-wide census of trees. He said while lamp posts and even manholes are identified and marked in the Capital, trees are not.

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"We have prepared literature to be distributed among resident welfare associations. We will meet RWAs soon and discuss with them as to how we can go about this (tree census)."

Releasing a tree census report prepared by the residents of South Delhi's Sarvodaya Enclave, in association with civil society group Green Circle, at India International Centre, the chief secretary admitted people were not open to trees in their bungalows being counted and marked.

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"This is something I have been trying to do for a long time. But it's not easy. Every time RWAs come to meet the chief minister, they voice their concern against trees. Some say certain trees block light, other RWAs complain trees obstruct outside view. This has to change," he said.

"As far as a census is concerned, people are suspicious about parting with information. But it's time we generated awareness and went about a city-wide tree census. Forest department officials cannot be posted everywhere. The Sarvodaya Enclave census is a great initiative. We can certainly improve and build on the momentum," he said.    

Tree census has been conducted by some cities such as Nagpur, Mumbai and Calcutta. The New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), which covers only 3 per cent of the Capital, has also done a tree census in its jurisdiction. "I'm glad NDMC officials are counting and marking the trees. Once the trees are numbered, you will get to know something is amiss, if a tree is felled," he said.   

Padmawati Dwivedi, who led a group of volunteers for the Sarvodaya Enclave census, said, "The biggest difficulty we faced was in getting support from residents. But our drive has had an impact on people. Interventions are being made for protection of trees. Our biggest challenge is how to get authorities and residents to de-choke trees."   

Reports from other areas beginning with Sundar Nagar and Jor Bagh will also be released. "Gradually, we will cover the entire city," said Suhas Borker of Green Circle.


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