A joint inspection by officials and a group of residents has said the public works department illegally felled or damaged as many as 235 trees for a road-widening project in Vasant Kunj.
During the last hearing on May 20, the forest department had informed the National Green Tribunal that 48 trees had been felled illegally. Now a report filed by the inspection team comprising the petitioner in the case and forest department and PWD officials says seven more trees subsequently fell as the roots had been severely damaged and soil around the roots dug up.
The report filed to the tribunal said: “Inspections revealed remnants of 35 more trees that had been felled illegally. Remnants of at least 20 trees were found dumped at a nearby site. It is possible that the number of trees felled may have been higher...but from the evidence gathered, it is reported that 90 trees have been felled unauthorisedly.”
“A total of 1,724 trees are within the alignment of the proposed road-widening project. Of them, 145 trees have been damaged due to widening. PWD should immediately save these 145 trees...Some of the damaged trees are not proposed to be cut and it is imperative these be restored on priority,” the report says. “PWD officials have indicated that 766 trees need to be cut. Only 32 trees can be transplanted. However, as it is summer, the possibility of successful transplantation immediately is slim,” the report says.
The report also says that no details were found to suggest the project had the sanction of the unified traffic and transportation infrastructure (planning & engineering) centre. “No compensatory afforestation plan is available with PWD at present,” it says.
Green tribunal hauls up PWD
New Delhi: The tribunal on Tuesday hauled up the PWD and issued a show-cause notice asking why contempt of court proceedings shouldn’t be initiated against it for lying to the court. The PWD had earlier denied having felled trees. The tribunal has now asked a Central Forestry Institute to inquire into the matter and submit a report by July 10 when the matter would be heard next.