No compensatory plantation in Delhi for trees cut during phase III of metro
As per the provisions of the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, the forest department has to ensure 10 saplings are planted for each tree felled. It has been alleged that the Delhi forest department is ignorant about the compensatory plantation that is required for the felling of the trees permitted by it.
Replies to application submitted under the RTI Act have shown that for the expansion of the Metro phase III, there has been large scale felling of trees.
- the west division has informed that felling of 5,974 trees has been allowed by it and these have already been cut. Further, it doesn’t have information on the total number of trees sought to be felled. Regarding quantum of land needed for the plantation of saplings to make up for the massive green loss, it has been replied that no information is available.
- the south division too doesn’t have information about the total number of trees sought to be felled though it has allowed felling of 3,382 trees. Regarding quantum of land needed for the plantation of saplings to make up for this massive green loss, it has been informed that the land requirement can be worked out by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).
- the north division too has admitted that it doesn’t have any information about the number of trees that have been cut. It was further informed that permission has been granted for felling of 2,200.
This shows that the three divisions do not have information on the quantum of land needed for the plantation of saplings to make up for this massive green loss. It has also been learnt that eight more applications for the felling of trees are pending with the divisions.
Work for the third phase of Delhi Metro’s expansion was initiated in November 2011 and together, the three divisions of the forest department (north, south and west) have allowed felling of 11,556 trees. As per estimates, nearly 16,000 trees would be cut for the phase III of Metro which would require 125 acres of land. The phase I of Metro had led to felling of 13,000 trees while the phase 2 resulted in cutting of 21,000 trees.
Felling of trees in such large numbers with no compensatory plantation means that the already polluted air of the city of Delhi is going to worsen. Other cities going in for the metro should take note of this aspect at the planning stage.