3.2 lakh saplings planted in city include 99,930 as part of court penalty: Govt to HC

Published on Sep 17, 2019 02:47 AM IST

Justice Najmi Waziri of the Delhi High Court, in separate cases over the past few months, had asked various litigants to plant saplings in the Central Ridge, as compensation or penalty, and the forest department was asked to ensure compliance.

Delhi government has not only matched the number asked for, but has increased it four-fold by planting 2.5 lakh saplings in the south region, 30,000 in the north region and 40,000 in the west region.(HT FILE)
Delhi government has not only matched the number asked for, but has increased it four-fold by planting 2.5 lakh saplings in the south region, 30,000 in the north region and 40,000 in the west region.(HT FILE)
New Delhi | ByRicha Banka

Delhi government has informed the Delhi High Court that it has planted 3.2 lakh saplings in the city, including 99,930 that were planted after the court had directed the plantation of trees as penalty and compensation to contemnors and litigants.

Justice Najmi Waziri of the Delhi High Court, in separate cases over the past few months, had asked various litigants to plant saplings in the Central Ridge, as compensation or penalty, and the forest department was asked to ensure compliance.

On August 27, advocate Gautam Narayan, additional standing counsel of the Delhi government, informed the court that the chief secretary of Delhi had directed the Forest Department to compare the numbers of plantation.

He said that the Delhi government has not only matched the number asked for, but has increased it four-fold by planting 2.5 lakh saplings in the south region, 30,000 in the north region and 40,000 in the west region.

Regarding a case wherein the court, while hearing a contempt plea on March 11, 2019, had directed one of the respondents to plant 1.4 lakh saplings in the Central Ridge, advocate Narayan informed the court that so far 68,000 saplings have been planted.

Detailing the breakup of the planted saplings, Narayan told the court that while 5,050 were planted under the jurisdiction of the Delhi Conservator of Forests (DCF) north, 824 saplings were planted under the jurisdiction of the DCF (west). He also said that 62,126 saplings have been planted under the jurisdiction of the DCF (south).

Rahul Mehra, standing counsel of the Delhi government (criminal), said that in about 80 different criminal cases, Justice Waziri had ordered the plantation of 1,85, 945 saplings, of which about 31, 930 had been planted.

During the proceedings, advocates MA Niyazi and Sumeet Pushkarna, who have been appointed court commissioners to assist the proceedings, said that according to an order of the National Green Tribunal there should be no concrete within one metre of the radius of a tree trunk.

The court said that if plantation has been carried out in contravention of the order passed by the NGT, then it would be incumbent upon the Forest Department to ensure that equivalent trees are planted by them at least 10 feet away from any such wall.

The judge also noted that drone videography of the Asola area showed that hundreds of trees have dried up, which evidently would mean that they have not been attended to or have not been watered.

He said that the video did not inspire confidence and hence required assessment.

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