Delhi forest dept tells infra agencies how to preserve environment
Following the orders of the Delhi high court, the city’s forest department has arranged for a workshop for all road-owning agencies, to apprise them of ways to preserve the ecology of an area while it carries out digging and construction activities.
The forest department on February 19 sent a meeting notice to all road-owning, construction and development agencies in Delhi, asking them to attend the workshop, where they will be given a walk-through on ways in which construction and digging work can carried out while also preserving the ecology of the area.
Along with officials from the forest department, the training session will be carried out by reputed experts in the field. Invitations have been sent out to Pradip Krishen, author and environmentalist, Prabhakar Rao, member of Kalpkrish, an environment action group, Vimlendu Jha, founder of environment NGO Swechha and a former independent member of Delhi’s Ridge Management Board, and Vallari Sheel, researcher and urban ecologist, who will also be discussing best practices with the agencies.
The workshop will be conducted on February 23.
“All officials and experts are requested to participate in the said workshop. In case of exigency, senior officials may depute representatives not less than a gazetted officer or equivalent,” the meeting notice issued by chief conservator forests (CCF) Nisheeth Saxena read.
The workshop will be attended by representatives from Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Public Works Department (PWD), the three municipal corporations (north, south and east), the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Delhi Jal Board (DJB), Delhi Fire Services (DFS), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), Delhi Cantonment Board etc.
This workshop was scheduled after the Delhi high court in an order issued on February 10, asked the Delhi government to initiate measures to sensitise agencies to the importance of preserving trees while undertaking civil construction work.
The court was hearing the matter against the PWD for damaging the roots of trees during the construction of a drain on Meera Marg at Lodi Road. Complaints were received by the forest department of 30 trees being damaged on Meera Marg by the PWD work in September last year, while in January again another 12 trees were damaged by this.
“The imperative to preserve, nurture and augment the green cover in the city cannot be over-emphasized. It is expected that by the next date, due measures would have been initiated by the GNCTD (Government of the National Capital of Delhi) and appropriate orders/directions would have been issued for care of, obviating harm to and for preservation of the tree cover,” the court order read.
The order added, “Necessary capacity-building measures through workshops and training sessions too may be initiated within two weeks from today. The GNCTD may take the assistance of reputed NGOs to assist in the process.”
The court again on February 18 acknowledged the response of the government and approved the setting up of the workshop date, highlighting that the sessions should be conducted by senior forest department officials, scientists and academicians.
“Considering that there are so many agencies that undertake construction work of some form in Delhi, it is important that agencies are guided on ways in which they can carry out their work while also not harming the trees that fall in the way. We will try to give a comprehensive session to the agencies on the ways in which the ecology can be preserved as has been ordered by the court,” said a senior forest department official.
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