After Vasant Kunj, where a number of trees were felled without permission for a road-widening project, another carnage stares at Delhi’s green cover — this time in Vikaspuri.
An elevated road between Vikaspuri and Meera Bagh could result in nearly 1,000 trees facing the axe.
And, as precursor to the massacre, the Delhi government’s Public Works Department has hammered more than 4,000 nails —an offence — into 1,000 trees marked for felling along outer ring road where the road will come up.
The Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, says nailing a tree attracts a jail term of up to one year or a fine of up to Rs.1,000 or both.
Tin sheets have been used to number the trees and four nails have been hammered into each of them.
The forest department is yet to give the go-ahead to the PWD for the cutting of the trees.
Replying to a Right to Information (RTI) application, the forest department has admitted that the PWD has sought permission to hack 914 trees for the elevated road project.
The forest department has also said that while there is no plan for compensatory plantation, the PWD has already put up pre-felling enclosures.
The trees -- including Neem and Arjuna -- are located on pavements and service roads on both sides of the main outer ring road carriageway.
“When felling permission has not been obtained, why nail trees? Is the PWD going to do anticipatory felling? Putting up of enclosures suggests so. When the civil society does a tree census, the government asks them to use organic paint. The government itself is the biggest enemy of trees,” said an activist.
“We urge the National Green Tribunal to take up this matter suo moto. What if permission is not granted? Who will be responsible for such damage to the green cover?” he asked.
Delhi forest department head GN Sinha told Hindustan Times, “I will ask the PWD to immediately take out all the nails and tin sheets and count the trees with paint.”
“Construction agencies such as PWD are supposed to count trees before sending applications for felling. Sometimes contractors are not aware of the correct procedure. We will ensure the right message is communicated down the line. Appropriate action will be taken in this case,” he said.