DMRC fined ₹4L for felling trees during Phase 4 work
The Delhi forest department has slapped a fine of ₹4.30 lakh on Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for damaging and illegally cutting trees in a deemed forest area between Vikaspuri and Mukarba Chowk, a section of the upcoming Janakpuri-RK Ashram corridor of Metro Phase 4, senior forest department officials said.
Documents accessed by Hindustan Times show that the deputy conservator forests (west division) Navneet Srivastava, on April 19, issued the order imposing the fine on DMRC for offences such as cutting, damaging, pruning and concreting 27 fully grown trees between Vikaspuri and Mukarba Chowk.
DMRC on Monday reiterated that no tree was damaged for construction on the said stretch and that no work has been going on there since August 25, 2020.
“The officials from the west division inspected the site and reported illegal cutting, pruning, head backing, and damaging of trees by DMRC... After going through the facts of the case and as empowered under Section 21 of the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act (1994), I agree to compound the offence,” the order issued by Srivastava read.
The tree varieties that have been impacted by the Metro construction include banyan, jungle jalebi, alstonia, siras, papri, kachnar and sheesham, said the forest department. The DCF (west) said that Delhi Metro has been fined ₹20,000 each for pruning four trees, ₹60,000 each for the cutting and removal of two trees and ₹10,000 per tree for concretising and damaging the roots of 21 trees.
In an e-mail response to HT, DMRC said, “Work has been stopped in the forest area since August 25, 2020, as per the directions and orders issued by the DCF (west), forest department. DMRC is taking all necessary precautions to save the trees along the (track) alignment.” DMRC said 2,958 trees are proposed to be cut between Krishna Park and Mukarba Chowk for the construction of the corridor.
While the forest department order states that the penalty amount needs to be deposited by the erring agency within a period of 30 days from the date of the order, the DMRC officials privy to the matter said that they have not received any communication from the forest department regarding the fine.
“Since the lockdown started in Delhi immediately after the order imposing a penalty on DMRC was issued on April 19, no exchange from DMRC has come to our notice because our office is now functioning only on a need-to basis,” said a senior forest department official.
A senior DMRC official said the body has followed all the necessary protocols.