In 5 years, Delhi didn’t reject any proposal to cut trees for projects

Updated on Jun 28, 2018 07:31 AM IST
The cutting of trees has become controversial following a furore over the plan to fell around 16,500 trees in South Delhi for an ambitious project redeveloping several neighbourhoods dedicated to government housing.
People hug a tree as they protest against the cutting of trees at Sarojini Nagar in New Delhi, India, on Sunday, June 24, 2018.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
People hug a tree as they protest against the cutting of trees at Sarojini Nagar in New Delhi, India, on Sunday, June 24, 2018.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

In the past five years, the Delhi government’s forest department has not rejected any proposals for tree felling for major development projects in the city, officials from the department said.

Officials said that at least since 2013, all government and private agencies undertaking development projects in the national capital have been granted permissions for tree felling. Only minor variations are made to the proposals, and if at all, the number of trees to be cut is reduced marginally, they explained. The latest project to have been cleared by the forest department for tree felling is the widening of the stretch between Dhaula Kuan and Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Officials said that 2,168 fully grown trees were identified for felling by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in March this year. Permissions have been granted by the lieutenant governor for chopping of 2,162 out of these 2,168 trees.

The cutting of trees has become controversial following a furore over the plan to fell around 16,500 trees in South Delhi for an ambitious project redeveloping several neighbourhoods dedicated to government housing.

For the Dhaula Kuan project, “a portion of these trees that are required to be cut was falling in the green area, and needed permissions from the apex court. Some area was also falling in the cantonment area. We have got those permissions,” a forest department official said.

Other projects that have been given the go-ahead show a similar trend.

Records accessed by HT show that in September 2015, the forest department had cleared a proposal for the felling of 314 trees. Permissions were originally sought for felling of 320 trees by the Public Works Department (PWD) for the construction of the Barapullah elevated corridor (phase-III).

In the same year the department also cleared two other proposals—for the construction of a multi-storey office complex for the Shahdara zonal office at Karkardooma by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) and for the widening of road number-59 at IP Estate by the PWD. For the EDMC project, permissions were granted for the felling of 176 trees, while for the PWD road widening project the cutting of 263 trees was cleared.

“The initial proposal for EDMC has asked for 182 trees to be chopped and for the road widening in IP Estate, the agency had asked that 275 trees be allowed to be chopped,” the forest department official added on condition of anonymity

Forest department officials said that government projects and especially those that are “aimed at improving infrastructure” face the least resistance.

Delhi’s environment minister Imran Hussain, however, said that many of these projects were granted permissions before the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government came to power.

“All projects that have been tabled under our government have gone through scrutiny,” he said.

Officials said that the permission process is far more strenuous for an individual looking for cutting or pruning a smaller number of trees. “When the permissions are for smaller numbers, our officials inspect thoroughly and try our best that the tree is saved. In a large project manually inspecting all trees is not possible. Especially with the limited resources we work with,” another official said.

Prabhakar Rao, a member of Kalpavriksha Environment Action Group, and an expert on urban forests, said that in any major project, the trees are the first to be removed even before the design is finalised.

“That is the easiest thing to do. The permissions are difficult to justify but the environment is hardly on any agency’s mind,” Rao said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Soumya Pillai covers environment and traffic in Delhi. A journalist for three years, she has grown up in and with Delhi, which is often reflected in the stories she does about life in the city. She also enjoys writing on social innovations.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • HT Image

    Day 4 of search: Divers enter covered stretch of canal, boy still missing

    Gurugram: Search operations to locate an eight-year-old boy continued on Wednesday, more than 72 hours after the child fell in a canal at Gadoli village near Umang Bhardwaj Chowk in Sector 37D. The Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority used two drones for surveillance and deployed high-power exhaust fans to flush out toxic gases from the covered stretch of the canal to aid search operations.

  • Chief minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal

    Kejriwal questions Agnipath scheme, says Centre waived taxes of 'rich friends'

    Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over imposing GST on essential food items and said that taxpayers are betrayed when their tax money is used to waive off loans of "rich friends". His reaction came after Modi's statement on freebies. Earlier on Wednesday, in his speech during the inauguration of the 2G ethanol plant, the Prime Minister also spoke out against the culture of freebies.

  • The police said two groups clashed as simmering tensions boiled over on Thursday. (File image)

    Two dead in clashes over inter-faith relationship in Karnataka’s Koppal

    At least two persons died and several others injured after clashes between groups over an interfaith couple in Hulihyder village of Koppal district in Bengaluru on Thursday. Venkappa (60) and Basha (22) died in the clashes and at least four more were injured as the two groups, armed with sticks and weapons, assaulted each other. The police said two groups clashed as simmering tensions boiled over on Thursday.

  • The Karnataka high court.

    Married daughters also entitled for insurance compensation on parents' death: HC

    The Karnataka High Court has held that married daughters are entitled for compensation by insurance companies on the loss of their parents in accidents. The HC single judge bench of Justice H P Sandesh heard an appeal filed by an insurance company challenging the award of compensation to married daughters of one Renuka (aged 57) who was killed in an accident on April 12, 2012 near Yamanur, Hubballi, in north Karnataka.

  • DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal sought a copy of the first information report (FIR), details of the accused person arrested or absconding and steps taken to apprehend the accused. (Mohd Zakir/HT File Photo)

    Submit report by August 14, DCW orders Delhi police on rape of 3 school girls

    The Delhi Commission for Women on Thursday asked the city police to submit a complete report by August 14 on the action taken on a rape complaint by three girls studying in a Delhi government school. The commission also asked police to confirm that the three minor girls were produced before the child welfare committee as required by law, and a copy of the order issued by the committee.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now