Trees choke despite concrete rules

Trees choke despite concrete rules

 How can we have fresh air when the trees themselves are struggling to breathe? Despite repeated notices by National Green Tribunal, the municipal corporations and public works department have so far failed to provide non-concrete area around trees in the city.

Even the forest department claims to be playing its “quasi-judicial” role in advising civic bodies to comply with the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act 1994.

According to rules, 6x6 feet area around each tree should be left vacant, but it is rarely followed. The blame game continues among the civic agencies, PWD, and central public works department as to under whose jurisdiction the road falls which has these choked trees.

‘In phased manner’

“We have taken up the work to de-concretise the surroundings of trees. It is being done in a phased manner. And for the new constructions, the rule is being strictly followed,” said East Corporation’s spokesperson.

The forest department said it advices municipal corporations and other agencies concerned to take up the task of de-choking of trees.

“We do our best to inform the agencies to comply with the rules. We can only give advice to civic bodies, PWD and other agencies. It is their duty to implement the rule according to the law,” said a forest department official.

“Also, PWD’s architects should check that adequate space has been left vacant around trees while constructing pavements.”

A North Corporation official said, “The work has been taken up to make surroundings of trees concrete-free. And gradually all the trees under the limits of the corporation will be protected.”

The forest department official said, “The erring officers should be punished under the law. As the public’s money had already been wasted, the de-concretisation of the area around trees will require an additional amount. The erring agencies should be taken to court.”

The official added that the contractors should be told beforehand to leave space around trees.

In 2007, the Delhi High Court had ordered the agencies concerned to start de-concretising the surrounding of trees in the national capital. However, little progress has been made so far.

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