One of the greenest areas of the Capital, a large number of trees were cut in south Delhi in the last five years, says a new report by the Forest Survey of India (FSI).
Areas such as Malviya Nagar, Hauz Khas, Saket in South Delhi and Dwarka in South west Delhi witnessed high amount of construction work in the form of new flyovers and Metro, which may have led to the loss of forest cover.While south Delhi lost 0.32 sq km of green cover, south west Delhi lost 0.65 sq km, taking up the total loss to 0.97 sq km. South Delhi areas had witnessed major construction during Commonwealth Games when many trees were cut.
However, the loss of trees in the two areas has been mitigated, to some extend, by the increased greenery in north-east and north-west Delhi at 0.51 and 0.08 sq km respectively. The rest of Delhi, however, witnessed no visible changes in the green cover.
The FSI has come up with the report included in ‘State of Forest Report-2011’ after comparing satellite pictures of green cover in the city in 2006 with that in 2011. For the calculation and comparison of green cover, Delhi was divided into nine zones. The report further stated that ‘this loss is mainly due to felling of trees for developmental purposes’.
Following the report, the forest department of the Delhi government has launched an investigation into the veracity of the claims. “We have noted the survey report and are investigating the basis on which it has been made. Only after the report is submitted, we will be able to comment on it,” said a senior official of the department.
In a similar report brought out by the FSI in 2009, it had found that Delhi had gained 0.14 sq km of forest cover mostly in north and north-west part of the Capital.
However, some loss of greenery was reported in East Delhi due to ‘cutting of trees’, said the report.