The National Green Tribunal has issued notices to various departments on a petition that accused the government of failing to de-choke trees — by removing concrete around them — in the national Capital.
The green watchdog issued notices to 14 departments of the Centre and the state government, besides municipal corporations, and listing April 23 as the next date of hearing.
One of the petitioners, Aditya N Prasad, said, “We moved the petition to seek an order to stop concretisation of trees and de-concretise those already choked. Central rules issued in 2000 state that an area of 6X6 feet around each tree should be left vacant but in most cases, it is not followed.”
The petition seeks de-choking in an effective and time-bound manner, as concretisation is causing substantial damage to trees. Such concretisation is in violation of the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994 and the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
The Delhi High Court had in 2007 ordered de-choking of trees in the Capital but the progress has been painfully slow.
“…even after the passage of six years, the judgment passed by the high court is yet to be complied with by the respondents,” the petition reads.
“We filed RTI (right to information) applications with a number of departments. Many of them did not respond, while some replies revealed that the court order has not been complied with in most areas of Delhi,” said Prasad.
“Some departments said the court order was not conveyed to them. Others said the court order did not contain any actionable points. Some departments admitted de-choking was yet to be taken up,” he said.
“De-choking has been done in many cases. We have told land-owning agencies in Delhi to expedite the process of de-choking and submit a status report,” a forest department official said.
Hearing a petition that said trees on pavements in the city were falling because their roots were becoming weak due to concretisation of pavements, the high court had in 2007 asked the authorities to remove concrete around trees.
Before that, the Centre in 2000 had also issued de-choking guidelines.