Members of the Delhi Tree Authority had in September 2012 proposed a third-party survey to know the survival rate of saplings planted and keep tabs on compensatory plantation done when trees are felled for infrastructure projects.
"The numbers (sapling plantation figures) have always been there. We also know that plantations have exceeded targets in recent years. It's the issue of survival that is a cause for concern. A third-party survey must start at the earliest," said tree activist Usha Srinivasan, who is also a member of the Delhi Tree Authority.
"Knowing the survival rate of saplings and increasing their chances of survival is very important. About 20 lakh saplings are said to be planted in the Capital every year. Survival of even half the saplings should have turned Delhi into a dense forest by now," said a member of the authority.
"We also want to know if the mandatory 10 times afforestation has been done in all cases. If it has been done, then what are the locations? We also proposed that at development project sites, information on the number of trees felled, the quantum and locations where afforestation has taken place should be provided. Also, names of the agencies doing the compensatory plantation should be highlighted," he said.
The government admits it doesn't know the survival rate of saplings and hence there is no plan to arrest the slide. "The idea has not been shelved. It's there on the agenda. But the current focus is on tree census," said an official.