Rail body booked for felling 18 trees near Delhi’s Dwarka Sector 21

An RLDA official said that they did not seek any permission as the land was barren when the project was awarded eight years ago
A Railway official said they only cut saplings to make way for trucks. (Sourced)
A Railway official said they only cut saplings to make way for trucks. (Sourced)
Updated on Jan 24, 2022 03:08 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The state forest and wildlife department has booked the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) for allegedly damaging or felling at least 18 fully-grown trees without permission at the site of the Bijwasan Rail Terminal Redevelopment Project near Dwarka’s Sector 21.

Confirming the same, a senior forest official from the west division said, “During the first inspection, at least 18 trees were found to be damaged or cut. They (RLDA) could not show any permission during the inspection. An offence under the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act (DPTA), 1994, has been filed against the agency and the hearing for this matter will take place in the first week of February.”

The official said a second, detailed inspection will be carried out at the site to determine the extent of the damage.

An RLDA official said that they did not seek any permission as the land was barren when the project was awarded eight years ago. “Over time, some trees have grown, but we have only cut smaller saplings to make room for trucks and supplies to reach the site. For the fully-grown trees, we will be applying for a permission,” said the official.

HT had earlier reported how locals from the nearby Shahabad Mohammadpur village in Dwarka, along with a local NGO, had filed complaints with both the Delhi Police and the forest and wildlife department, alleging over 200 trees had already been felled from the forest patch behind Dwarka’s Sector 21 metro station. In their complaints, the locals had stated the RLDA, which is undertaking the redevelopment project, was unable to show them a permission to fell the trees.

Naveen Solanki, a 20-year-old from the village who had alerted the forest department about the illegal tree felling, said the area was rich in biodiversity and had nilgai and other mammals too. “Deforestation work has only begun in the last two weeks or so. We were quick to object to it, the agency has no permission to cut these trees. An FIR has also been initiated to prevent trees from being cut any further,” he said.

The Bijwasan railway station is undergoing an airport-style makeover on a public-private partnership (PPP) model. While the project was initially awarded to the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC), the government body was shut down last October and the project was later awarded to the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) in December 2021.

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