Miffed experts mull exit from city tree authority

A clear of conflict of interest has been at work in decisions taken to either grant or deny permission for felling of trees in Delhi, a right to information application has indicated. Darpan Singh reports.

delhi Updated: Jul 09, 2013 23:41 IST
Darpan Singh
Darpan Singh
Hindustan Times

Two of the three expert members of the Delhi Tree Authority are miffed with the government’s indifference towards their role and are contemplating to quit.

“We’re not being heard. The authority is supposed to meet every three months. But there hasn’t been any meeting since September last year. Before that there was a meeting in February 2012. Loopholes in the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, (DPTA) need to be plugged to protect and augment greenery but the government is not showing any intent,” said a member, who didn’t wish to be identified.

Apart from the three experts, a DMRC representative, forest department officials, horticulture directors of all land-owning agencies and two MLAs, form the authority, constituted in 2007 for protection of trees in Delhi.

“We’re not part of the government’s decisions but people think we’re responsible for whatever is happening to greenery in Delhi,” the expert member said.

“The representation of NGOs is only a formality. The intent for wider consultations is not there. After consulting among ourselves, we will take a decision in 10 days and let the press know,” said another member.“On an earlier occasion, I thought of getting out of the authority but the then environment secretary pleaded that I should stay. It seems all futile now,” said the second expert member. Experts members are also upset over no amendments to the DPTA. “One major loophole is that if officials of PWD or NDMC are found guilty of felling trees, the forest department has to seek prosecution sanction from their department heads. When the law is weak, implementation cannot be correct,” they said.

First Published: Jul 09, 2013 23:36 IST