The full-grown Semal tree at Green Park in south Delhi, the proposed felling of which had run into controversy earlier this week, was finally cut on Saturday, locals said.
The Delhi government’s forest department, which had put the felling order on hold after receiving many complaints against its axing, on Sunday said it re-examined the tree and found it “required” to be cut. On Tuesday, the department had kept the matter on hold “till further orders” after trees activists staged a protest at the site.
Locals and environmentalists had raised the matter on social media platforms alleging that the tree did not need to be felled.
Senior officials in the forest department said following complaints they had set up a multidisciplinary committee comprising the deputy chief conservator (DCF) (south division), deputy directors of horticulture and members of the South civic body to re-examine the issue, which recommended felling of the tree.“The committee inspected the site and the building plan and submitted its report on Friday. It found that the tree was required to be felled on merit and also that the applicant had also planted saplings as a compensatory plantation in a nearby park. Based on the report we reinstated the order allowing the felling of the tree,” said, Ishwar Singh, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) and head of the department.
Tree and animal activist Sonya Ghosh said they had also written to the Delhi government’s environment secretary on March 19 citing that the permission given by the department was in gross violation of the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994.“It was a strong and full-grown tree outside the boundary of the plot where the building is coming up. The department allowing such trees to be felled is a violation of the DPTA Act,” said Ghosh.
The forest officials, however, maintained the state forest department was the competent authority to judge a violation, if any, and give or deny permission for cutting trees.
Bhavreen Kandhari, activist and a member of Delhi Tree SOS, said the tree was too strong to be destabilised during construction. “The tree was heavily chopped and the main trunk was partially damaged with an axe on Tuesday itself. We will take our complaint further,” said Kandhari.
First Published: Mar 25, 2019 05:16 IST