The public works department has sought felling of around 2,000 trees for a Meera Bagh-Vikas Puri and Mangol Puri-Madhuban Chowk elevated road project on the outer ring road in west Delhi, but the trees identified for felling are not in the project alignment.
The trees are on the service lanes, while the elevated road has to come up on the central verge.
In reply to a query under the right to information act, the PWD has admitted these trees need to be felled for “widening” of the main carriageway and “development” of service roads and footpaths.
Tree activist Prabhakar Rao, who is also a member of Delhi government’s Tree Authority, said, “In the name of landscaping, we get shrubs and articles of ornamental value which can never make up for green losses. Instead of cutting trees and planting saplings elsewhere, the government must accommodate as many as existing trees as possible in its beautification drive.”
Terming it unnecessary felling, tree activists have now written to the chief minister, the secretary (environment), besides various other agencies, including the National Green Tribunal, that these trees be accommodated in landscaping planned below the proposed elevated road.
“The project map shows that there has to be a green belt of 2,64,000 sqm along the project. During the approval stage, it was not considered that a large number of heritage trees already exist, thus, the existing trees instead of being felled can very well be accommodated in the proposed green belt,” said a tree activist, who has approached government authorities seeking their intervention.
Forest department officials admitted they were never consulted at the planning stage.
“Trees are located along the service lanes and not on the central verge, where the pillars for the proposed elevated road are to be erected. The trees are no obstruction as they are 220 feet away from the central verge and do not fall in the alignment of the project,” said another activist.
“There is no reason for felling about 2,000 fully-grown trees. More space can be created if cars are not parked illegally on service lanes,” he said.