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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Green cover down as govt fights

Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 07, 2013
First Published: 23:51 IST(7/2/2013) | Last Updated: 23:52 IST(7/2/2013)

As the Delhi forest department and various municipal corporations fight over procedural issues, the city’s green cover is bearing the brunt.

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Laws say the corporations have to seek permission from the forest department for pruning. But the differences between the two delay permission.

The corporations allege that the forest department delays permission under the pretext of “cumbersome” laws, while the latter claims physical inspections take time.

Since pruning has to be done often in any case because of safety and practical issues involved, what happens due to this tug of war is that more wood than allowed is cut and it reaches the timber market. “Several such cases have come to light in the recent past,” admitted a forest department official.

The forest department has now decided to make the process of grant of permission online.

The department has also initiated a process to put on its website pictorial descriptions of cases where pruning - light or heavy - can and cannot be done and specific ways to do so.

“This will make the entire process transparent and people will have fewer reasons to complain. Pruning should always be done in a judicious manner,” he said.

Pruning is needed when tree branches obstruct sunlight, are likely to fall or disrupt power supply. RWAs first apply to corporations concerned.

These applications are then forwarded to the forest department. The forest department has to decide on an application in 30 days, but it alleges the applications remain stuck with the offices of assistant and deputy directors of horticulture at the corporations.

“We want the wood to be used in cremation of abandoned bodies. But often the quantum of wood pruned is more than allowed by us. The wood reaches the timber market. We want to check all this,” said a forest department official.

“The do’s and don’ts that we’re putting out will help remove much confusion. Like, for example, we will be telling people branches that touch the ground can be removed provided they are not more than half the diameter of the trunk. Dead branches may be removed using a saw,” he said.


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