A day after HT exposed the government’s plan to cause massive destruction of green cover to keep its five-yearold election promise of providing low-cost housing, authorities on Monday said they will consider saving “as many trees as possible through realignment”.
After having sought felling of about 7,000 trees to build flats for the urban poor at Pooth Khurd village in southwest Delhi’s Bawana, the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) is revising its proposal.
DSIIDC general manager Anand Tiwari told HT, “We’re revising our proposal. We will file a fresh application. Our endevour would be to save trees wherever possible. But we have to look at it in the context of the entire project as we have to build 14,000 houses.”
Rehabilitation of about 20 lakh people living in 600-odd slum clusters in Delhi has been a key political issue. In the run-up to the 2008 assembly polls, the Congress had promised 70,000 housing units across Delhi under Rajiv Rattan Awas Yojna but has been able to build only 14,000. Moreover, not a single unit has been allotted so far.
In the run-up to the assembly polls in November, the government is now running against time to deliver the promised houses.
Top government sources told HT that officials have held a meeting and asked the DSIIDC to review the treefelling requirement afresh and “consider lowering of the number of trees to be felled to 1,500 to 2,000”. This has not been conveyed officially.
“We have rejected the first application as we found there were 9,000 to 10,000 trees at the site. When the DSIIDC has to plant trees around houses, why cut the existing ones?” asked a senior forest department official.