In defiance of a stay order by the National Green Tribunal, the Public Works Department (PWD) has been felling trees in Vasant Kunj and continued work on the road-widening project, residents of the area claimed on Sunday.
The tribunal had stayed work on the project till the next hearing into the matter on April 29.
The residents alleged fresh felling of two trees and continuation of the road-widening project. They lodged complaints with the police as well as the forest department.
PWD minister Raj Kumar Chauhan told HT: “If fresh felling of trees has taken place, the guilty will not be spared. I will take immediate action. The forest department has not allowed felling of trees in the area. We will not allow felling of trees without permission.”
Ordering an interim stay on work, the tribunal had on April 9 also warned the Delhi government against further felling of trees.
The government admitted that the PWD felled trees without mandatory permission.
In a three-part series on March 5, 6 and 7, HT reported how the PWD was demolishing boundaries and felling trees illegally for widening a 3.5-km stretch from Andheria Mod towards Mahipalpur.
Sonya Ghosh, a resident of Sector D3, Vasant Kunj, on whose petition the tribunal began hearing the case, registered a complaint with the Vasant Kunj (north) police station.
“At 10.30am on Sunday it was noticed that two trees, marked for felling, had been cut down opposite Sector D2 and a junior engineer of the PWD was on the site. Upon being noticed, the engineer covered his face and ran away from the site,” the complaint reads.
The complaint also mentions a reply to a RTI application that says the forest department has not given permission for felling of trees for the project.
Ghosh has sought action against the PWD, saying it has acted in contempt of the tribunal order.
She also filed a complaint with the deputy conservator of forests (west division), under whose jurisdiction Vasant Kunj falls.
The RTI reply says the forest department has also taken cognisance of the offence (earlier felling of trees) and lodged a police complaint.
“PWD had sought permission to fell 73 trees but we refused the permission because there was no non-forest land available for compensatory afforestation,” said a senior forest department official.
“We will submit to the police the copy of the complaint copy filed with the tribunal and seek contempt proceedings against the PWD,” Ghosh said.