At last the government has come to the rescue of trees in the Capital.
On Wednesday, the Delhi government increased the amount for cutting trees to Rs 28,000 from a mere Rs 1,000 — a move aimed at discouraging cutting of trees in the city.
People, who want to cut a tree for some reason, take permission and then deposit Rs 1,000 per tree as security money with the government. Half the money could be refunded after planting 10 saplings for cutting
The amount has now been increased to Rs 28,000, 50 per cent of which will be refunded.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said, “I hope people will be discouraged from cutting trees unnecessarily.”
Environmental experts have welcomed the move but want it to be implemented fairly. “Anything which will discourage people from cutting trees is a good step. The government has realised it finally. But I hope it won't be applicable on private developers only, as the government agencies also cut a lot of tress for many of their projects,” said Ravi Aggarwal, environmentalist and convener of ‘Trees for Delhi’, a forum of citizens and NGOs that was formed to protest felling of trees for the CWG projects.
An official said, “It costs around Rs 2,500 to plant one sapling and people prefer to forfeit the security deposit than plant 10 saplings,” said the official.
Facing difficulty in offering land for compensatory afforestation and also to monitor its effective implementation, the Delhi government has
also made some changes in rules for compensatory plantation under the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act.
It was decided that compensatory plantation would be split into two components. As per the decision taken on Wednesday, compensatory plantation will have to be carried out at land identified by the Forest department and also there will be an option to plant saplings at areas from where trees are removed.
Earlier, compensatory plantation was allowed only in land identified by the Forest department. Further, it has also been decided to fix plantation cost per sapling at Rs 2,540.
Under the new rule, half of the deposit will go to forest department for planting five of the 10 trees on government land. The remaining half will be refunded to the applicant after he plants five more trees as