Forest dept restrains MCD’s drain work in GK-2 over damage to 15 trees

Published on May 25, 2022 11:33 PM IST

The forest department has issued a work restrainment order to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), asking the civic body to stop work on a stormwater drain in Greater Kailash-2, after it received a complaint from an NGO that 15 trees in GK-2 M Block were damaged in the trenching work for the drain

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By, New Delhi

The forest department has issued a work restrainment order to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), asking the civic body to stop work on a stormwater drain in Greater Kailash-2, after it received a complaint from an NGO that 15 trees in GK-2 M Block were damaged in the trenching work for the drain.

The forest department said it received the complaint on May 23 and an inspection was carried out the same day, following which a notice was issued to MCD, asking the civic body to stop any further work on the drain; also show cause, and appear for a hearing on June 2.

The notice said digging within a 1m radius of a tree was a violation of the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, and suitable action can be taken against the officials responsible.

“The inspection found that 15 trees were damaged -- their roots were either exposed completely, as the trenching was too close to the trees, or they had been concretised. We have asked the MCD to fix both issues by using fresh soil so as to prevent any further damage to the trees,” said a forest official in the south division, on condition of anonymity. The official added that fines could also be issued, following the hearing on June 2.

The forest department was acting on a complaint filed by NGO New Delhi Nature Society (NDNS), stating that the actions undertaken by the MCD was in clear violation of past Delhi high court and National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders, which prohibit concretisation or any digging within a 1m radius of a tree.

“It has been observed that a number of trees have been damaged, with their roots cut, due to deep trenching being undertaken within a metre of the tree trunks on the road from M-76 to M-40 in Greater Kailash-2. The trenching appears to have been done by an earthmover and on enquiry, it was learnt that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi is undertaking the construction of a stormwater drain there,” said Verhaen Khanna, founder of NDNS, in his letter to the forest department.

An MCD official said only two trees were damaged. “During trenching work, two trees were affected as their roots were exposed. However, we are taking corrective measures to save these trees by putting back the dug-out soil. Moreover, we have stopped the work and will resume it in consultation and as per the advice of the forest department. If need arises, we will change the direction of the drain to ensure that no harm is caused to trees,” said the official, asking not to be named.

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