The Delhi government has decided to get tough with those causing harm — such as non-permitted lopping, nailing or girdling — to trees.
The Capital’s tree authority will meet soon and issue fresh guidelines to protect the greens. Residents will be able to upload pictures of such activities on a web portal that the government is working on and penal actions will follow.
In case of charges being found true under the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, an offender would face a jail term of up to one year or a fine of up to Rs. 1,000 or both. Even owners of trees in their own backyards cannot harm them unless not doing so may endanger life and property.
“Our inspections will continue but we want more and more people and RWAs to come forward and register complaints. We have decided to run our tree control room 24x7 to deal with such complaints more effectively,” a top government official told Hindustan Times.
Commencement of a city-wide tree census is also on the agenda. “Tree census has been our mandate ever since this authority was set up in 2007. Unless you have identified and marked trees, you will never know if some of them have been felled. We’re consulting RWAs on how we can go about a tree census in the capital,” he said.
The tree authority’s meet will also clear the air on the issue of pruning the trees. “Also, since the forest department takes time in deciding on permissions sought for tree felling, the process has to be expedited,” he said.
“We will also study proposals of various government departments and private bodies for the construction of buildings, roads, factories, irrigation works, laying electric, telephone, telegraph and other transmission lines with regard to protection of existing trees and planting of more trees, wherever possible,” the official said.
The authority will also work on development and maintenance of nurseries, supply of seeds, saplings and trees to those willing to plant trees.