Delhi government’s Public Works Department, which had hammered more than 4,000 nails in 1,000-odd trees on Outer Ring Road in west Delhi, has begun the repair job.
Hindustan Times on Saturday had reported that in its bid to count trees — so that they could be felled to build an elevated road between Vikaspuri and Meera Bagh — the PWD had used sheets of tin.
Four nails have been hammered into each sheet to number the trees.
The PWD has begun marking the trees anew with paint. Officials have promised this will be followed by removal of nails and tin sheets.
PWD minister Raj Kumar Chauhan told HT, “Nails are not meant to be hammered into trees. Action will be taken in the matter. These trees will not be felled till we take permission from the forest department. But general public also harms trees. Everybody needs to be equally concerned about the green cover.”
GN Sinha, head, Delhi forest department, said: “On Saturday itself, I had told the tree officer in our west division to get these nails and tin sheets removed. I have again told the chief conservator of forests on Sunday to tell the PWD to do the needful. They have started counting trees with paint.”
However, the forest department made it clear that those responsible for nailing the trees will not be prosecuted.
“It’s (hammering nails) a mistake and they’re undoing it. We can’t get personal. The elevated road, for which the trees are eventually likely to be cut, is being made for the benefit of people in west Delhi,” said a senior official.
“But we will ensure that the PWD contractors are aware of the law and such mistakes are not repeated in the future,” he said.
As per the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, nailing a tree attracts a jail term of up to one year or a fine of up to Rs.1,000 or both.
The forest department has admitted that the PWD has sought the felling of 914 trees for the elevated road project but the permission has not been granted.
These trees are located on the pavements and service roads on both sides of the main Outer Ring Road carriageway. The trees include Neem and Arjuna.