The Delhi high court on Monday said that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) should audit the number of trees felled in Delhi and what was done with the timber generated.
A bench of Justice BD Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar said, “That is an income that has to be accounted for, hence the need for CAG audit”.
The bench took note that the Delhi Metro and Asola sanctuary authorities had axed a large number of trees in the national capital for various projects and said, “If trees were included in electoral roll as voters, then they would remain”.
The court was hearing a petition initiated by it on the issue of air pollution and its causes, one of which was the decline in forest and green cover in Delhi and its surrounding areas.
The court also noted that the Delhi government had not adhered to the deadline of identifying and removing encroachments in the Asola-Bhati wildlife sanctuary and fixed the matter for hearing on March 9.
Senior advocate Kailash Vasdev, amicus curiae to the court, said that in view of the government’s inaction, forest cover has gone down.
This contention was opposed by Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra, who said that forest cover in the national capital has not gone down and even claimed that green cover has increased in the city.