Government Colony to be developed in South Delhi by cutting of 16500 trees; Delhi citizens protest

Delhi’s tree population is set to decrease by 16500 in South Delhi region. This is because of a development program that aims at setting up a colony for government officials.

Sarojini Nagar area will be most affected, says a report. 11,000 out of 13,128 trees will be cut to provide the land for construction. National Building Construction Corporation Limited is developing areas such as Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Mohammadpur, Sriniwaspuri, Kasturba Nagar and Thyagaraj Nagar. Between November,2017 and June,2018 the permission for cutting the trees came.

Image courtesy: TOI

A petition has been filed in the NGT and the hearing is on 2nd, July.

“I had sent a legal notice to the Forest Department two months ago on the same issue, but did not get any reply from them. The project is a disaster. These are high-density areas. Have they calculated the impact of cutting so many trees on humans? Have they figured out how they will provide water to the people who will occupy these flats?”, said Anil Sood, founder of NGO Chetna, reports Indian Express.

“Tomorrow there is a protest being organised to show that the people of Delhi are against cutting the trees. This protest is not organised by any individual organisation but by the people themselves.”, said Prerna Prasad, a participant of the protest.

A campaign was launched online against the felling of trees and it received 17000 signatures in just four days. For the loss of a tree, the compensation is of planting 10 trees.

Aditya N Prasad, environmental lawyer, filed an RTI query about the felling of trees. He requested to accommodate the trees in the developmental project.

Delhi is a city already choked by pollution. This massive deforestation will only lead to worsening of the situation. However, NBCC chairperson AK Mittal assures that a mass scale afforestation program will be launched to cover the loss.

“We plan to start compensatory planting in these places as soon as the construction work is over and make them lush green like at New Moti Bagh.” said Mittal.

In a conversation with Prerna Prasad, a participant in protest, she said that Delhi is already choking with pollution and if 17000 more trees are cut then the situation will be deadly. The houses that the central govt is trying to build by cutting trees cannot provide fresh air to breathe.

A campaign has been recently launched by Juhi Saklani, a green activist, under Delhi Tree SOS. It is planning to collect 1 lakh signatures and ‘missed calls’ on the number 8971222911. This will later on be presented to the Union environment and urban development ministries.

“The campaign started on Tuesday and 6,000 people have already signed,” said Shikha Kumar. “The campaign is also being run on Whatsapp to allow people to express their opinion.”

According to New Delhi Nature Society, this large scale felling of trees will not only affect people and environment but also the natural habitat of birds and wildlife.