In October last year, the then Delhi chief secretary Praveen Kumar Tripathi lauded the efforts of a citizen group of South Delhi colony Sarvodaya Enclave for carrying out the Capital’s first tree census. Tripathi also promised a citywide census to protect green cover.
Six months on, the citywide census, first promised in 1994, is yet to start. And the residents of Sarvodaya Enclave have been running from pillar to post to ensure freeing up of choked trees, but to no avail.
“Those working on the streets say they don’t have know of any rule that a space of 6x6 feet has to be left around each tree. We complained to the South corporation, forest and environment departments that trees have been choked, rainwater drains cemented with ramps built on them, but we couldn’t nudge them into action,” said a resident.
“We confronted builders and contractors to ensure at least the base of drains is muddy and water goes in, but they say this will lead to seepage in their basement. A builder-government nexus has undone the advantages of the census,” he said.
“We will look into the matter and expedite the process of de-choking,” said a senior government official.
Padmavati Dwivedi, a tree activist, who led the census team, said, “The authorities must use porous tiles for pavements and sidewalks and leave the mandatory 6x6 feet space around all trees across the city.” “These provisions should be documented and explained before construction contracts are awarded,” she said.