AAP Govt files complaint against Delhi Golf Club after over ‘600 logs found’ on premises
The Delhi government filed a police complaint on Tuesday against the Delhi Golf Club for “illegally felling trees” inside the premises. The AAP government filed the complaint at the Nizamuddin police station and demanded an FIR be registered in the matter.
Delhi environment minister Imran Hussain said a probe had been ordered after a club member complained about “large-scale felling of trees” inside club premises last week.
A four-day inspection conducted by the forest department following the complaint reportedly found that “425 logs were dug out from the club”, the government said. Following the discovery, Hussain said another set of 200 logs were found on Tuesday.
“The investigation in the matter will continue for at least 20 more days. The inspection was ordered after a complaint by the member of the club of large-scale felling of trees in its compound. The possibility of the number of trees cut could be much more, which however, needs to be investigated. It was only because the number of logs found was so high that the department insisted on police enquiry,” said Hussain.
Denying the allegations, the Delhi Golf Club in a statement said, “We are informed about a complaint filed against the Delhi Golf Club in an alleged case relating to felling of trees within the club premises. We have not seen the copy of the complaint filed with the local authorities as yet. We categorically deny any wrongdoing in the matter; the case is an attempt to malign the reputation of the club and an effort to wrongly implicate its governing authorities.”
Delhi has already witnessed citizens protests following the decision to cut at least 14,000 trees in seven south Delhi neighbourhoods to make way for a housing project for Central government employees. The matter is now pending in courts.
A senior forest department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said pictures gathered from the Delhi Golf Club showed these trees were short in height and had been removed from the roots. “Even if the logs we found were cut into pieces, it still means a large number of trees were cut,” the official said.
The minister had ordered the department to submit an inspection report on the tree felling in the Delhi Golf Club on the directions of the chief minister, according to a statement issued by the Delhi government.
However, till the filing of this report, Delhi Police officials said they were “examining if the police is empowered to take action in the matter.” A meeting on the issue was going on till late on Tuesday night at the office of the deputy commissioner of police (southeast).
“The inspection team, comprising of four officials of the forest department, made a site visit to the club and submitted its report. The report confirmed that pits were being dug and logs of several sizes were being dumped in it. It further said, logs already dug out manually from the pits at the site are numbered and lying at the site,” the statement said.
However, the department in the complaint stated, that more pits are required to be dug out to get the exact number, which is beyond the capacity of the resource available with it.
“An FIR must be registered for violation of section 8 and section 23 of Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994,” the complaint stated.