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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Forests, rocky areas to make up for lost greens?

Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 29, 2013
First Published: 23:44 IST(29/1/2013) | Last Updated: 23:47 IST(29/1/2013)

Future infrastructure projects — particularly the expansion of the Delhi Metro — may mean greater loss of green cover.

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Finding it difficult to part with non-forest land, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has proposed compensatory plantation in already existing forests and even rocky terrains.  

In case of Metro expansion, according to the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, the Centre has to provide non-forest land to the Delhi forest department for compensatory plantation. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has to fund the plantation and maintenance of trees.

Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna, who is also the DDA chairman, has asked the Delhi government to examine the proposal. But the Delhi government is not amused. “Plantation in forests and rocky terrain means no plantation. You need non-forest land,” said a senior Delhi government official. 

On January 8, Khanna had held a meeting with officials from the DDA and the Delhi forest department and said a survey should be conducted on optimum density of trees in the areas where forests exist or are being developed. Here, compensatory plantation should be carried out, the L-G had said.

“Land in Delhi is under the Centre’s control. Compensatory forestation needs cooperation from all departments,” he had said. 

This came after a DDA official said, “It won’t be feasible for the DDA to hand over land to the forest department because the agency already has city forests where plantation can be taken up. The forest department has 4,707-acre-wide Asola wildlife sanctuary, 30 old city forests and 18 new forests. Compensatory plantation should be taken up there.”

At the meeting, the DDA official said 70 acres of land in Tipath valley had been agreed to be transferred to the forest department. But the forest department had refused it as it was rocky terrain. To this, the DDA had replied that the ridge also came up on a rocky area. “In Tipath valley, specific plantation as per soil condition can be taken up as suggested by experts,” he said.

The forest department said the national target for green cover is 33%. While Delhi’s green cover is 20%, in recent years there has been a decline of .38 sqkm.

Setback to city’s green cover

New Delhi: The Centre recently requested the Delhi government to reduce the number of trees to be planted for each tree felled from the standard 10 to now 3 or 4. The Delhi government thinks such a huge concession will mean a massive reduction of the city’s green cover.  HTC

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