To ensure that saplings planted by New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) earlier this year are not stolen or damaged by the public, the civic body has started putting bamboo sticks and tree guards around them.
The replantation drive is primarily aimed at avenues across areas under NDMC.
“On a number of stretches such as Safdarjung Road and Man Singh Road, we have already covered the saplings with iron cages. This will act as a deterrent for those who pluck the saplings,” said a senior NDMC official, requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
More than 200 trees get uprooted every year owing to natural causes.
“Of all tree species, Neem re-plantations have been severely hit. We have seen people plucking them and using them as toothbrushes. Also, due to the medicinal property of the herb, it is widely used in home remedies,” the official added.
While the civic body is replanting two to three times more than what is required, the damage done is much higher. However, on certain stretches such as Prithviraj Road, Aurangzeb Road, and Akbar Road, the drive has been quite successful.
“Some of the stretches have come up very well and the trees have reached a decent height,” the official said.
According to experts, trees in the Lutyens’ Delhi are quite old and replantation needs to be done systematically.
“The need for replanting trees in Lutyens’ Delhi was felt more than 10 years ago. Extra care is required to ensure they grow properly. Already, trees are facing the brunt of commercialisation and urbanisation,” said Ravi Aggarwal, environmentalist and convener of ‘Trees for Delhi’, a forum of citizens and NGOs that was formed to protest the felling of trees for Commonwealth Games-related projects.