The official said a change in a site cannot be done without following due procedure and amounts to a violation of the DPTA, under which the permission was granted.(HT File)
The official said a change in a site cannot be done without following due procedure and amounts to a violation of the DPTA, under which the permission was granted.(HT File)

Delhi govt asks CPWD to explain violation of tree transplantation norms

A Delhi government spokesperson said the department held a meeting on the matter on Thursday. “A show-cause notice has been issued to the CPWD following reports of violation. Necessary action will be taken under the DPTA, in case violations are found,” the spokesperson said.
By Vatsala Shrangi | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 27, 2020 12:02 AM IST

The Delhi environment and forest department on Thursday issued a show-cause notice to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), asking the agency to “explain” if it had violated conditions of the permission granted to transplant trees for the new Parliament building project and if so, “in what circumstances”.

A Delhi government spokesperson said the department held a meeting on the matter on Thursday. “A show-cause notice has been issued to the CPWD following reports of violation. Necessary action will be taken under the DPTA, in case violations are found,” the spokesperson said.

Officials in the department said they have given 15 days to the agency to respond to the notice issued under the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act (DPTA). They said It came to their notice that CPWD had started the process of transplanting trees to a site more than 20 km away in NTPC Eco Park in Kalindi Kunj. As per the permission granted by the Delhi government, the agency was supposed to transplant the trees in the Central Vista itself.

“Following news reports of violation of the permission given for transplantation, we have issued a show-cause notice to CPWD, asking them to explain, if the terms of the permission issued have been violated, and why the due procedure was not followed for the same. We have sought details of the number of trees, size, age and the kind of species transplanted to the site so far,” said a senior official, who did not wish to be named.

The official said a change in a site cannot be done without following due procedure and amounts to a violation of the DPTA, under which the permission was granted. “Once a response is received, officials from the CPWD will be summoned for a hearing in the matter,” the official said.

A senior CPWD official countered, “We are sending our reply to the Delhi government’s forest department. There is no violation of law or procedure. We have followed the due process. The site where trees are being transplanted is a government site.”

The notification issued by the Delhi government granting the transplantation permission on September 16 stated: “Transplantation of 404 trees, which are standing on the site (plot no. 118, next to existing Parliament building) shall be done by the user agency (CPWD) at eight pockets in the Central Vista, New Delhi ….It shall be ensured by the user agency that all conditions mentioned in the environment clearance shall be followed scrupulously.”

According to officials, the 404 trees to be transplanted are 100% native species and range from as young as five to 100 years old. The species include jamun, neem, peepal, amaltas, bargad and gular, among others.

Ishwar Singh, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), said if the agency undertaking the work needs to change the sanctioned location for any project, they are required to send an application to the tree officer concerned, who will inspect the site and assess if it is conducive to the survival and growth of the trees being transplanted.

“If the due procedure is not followed, it’s a violation of the permission and can cause damage to trees,” Singh said.

According to the Delhi government’s transplantation policy, 80% of the transplanted trees must survive after a year. Besides, the compensatory plantation has to be carried out by the agency undertaking the work.

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