10% trees at Delhi’s ‘model colony’ have withered
Senior officials said that at present, the New Moti Bagh complex has 7,075 trees, of which 896 are fruit-bearing ones. The problem, however, is that a lot of the varieties that have been planted are not native to the region. That, environment experts say, reduces the trees’ chances of survival.Updated: Jun 26, 2018 12:17 IST
New Moti Bagh was supposed to be the ‘poster child’ for compensatory plantation efforts carried out by the central government-owned project management company, NBCC (India) Ltd. The plantation drive at the upscale south Delhi neighbourhood was meant to shield the agency from the wrath of citizens against their upcoming projects.
However, officials from the agency said they have had to replace at least 10% of trees that were initially planted there because they had withered away in the last two years.
Senior officials said that at present, the complex has 7,075 trees, of which 896 are fruit-bearing ones. The problem, however, is that a lot of the varieties that have been planted are not native to the region. That, environment experts say, reduces the trees’ chances of survival.
“We do not have to depend on any other agency for maintenance. We have developed this complex and any tree that has withered is replaced by a new tree in the same spot,” an NBCC official said.
The agency is responsible for maintaining the complex for another 26 years.
When HT went around the residential complex, we found kikar and several palm trees, planted on the way towards the NBCC office, had withered. Environmental experts said this was likely due to local weather conditions.
The Delhi government last year had announced a policy for the removal of kikar from Delhi, as it is known to do more harm than good. Experts said that it sucks nutrients and water from the ground, killing other plants in its surroundings.
The bottle palm, on the other hand, is meant to grow in airy conditions, and needs a lot more time and maintenance in weather conditions like those experienced in Delhi.
Another variety, Ficus benjamina, commonly known as the ‘weeping fig’, is among the most planted shrubs in the complex and is not local. These shrubs are naturally found in Bangkok, but are widely found in Delhi’s manicured gardens as they are easy to grow and within a short span of time, they give the appearance of full-grown tree.
Environment lawyer Aditya Prasad said these varieties merely serve aesthetic purposes, but do not have much environmental value.
“For Delhi’s climate we require trees with broad to semibroad leaves, which serve the purpose of providing a cooling effect. While these trees might seem like fully grown trees within a year as against native trees, which take at least a year to grow, they serve no environmental value,” Prasad said.
Meanwhile, NBCC’s claim of having increased the green cover of the residential complex also comes with a footnote.
The “green cover” also includes grass patches and not just trees. The agency claimed that in New Moti Bagh, over 50% area has a green cover and, similarly, in East Kidwai Nagar, the complex is developed as a green space.
First Published: Jun 26, 2018 12:17 IST