“The Union urban and housing affairs ministry on Thursday claimed that only 14,031 trees are to be cut.”
NEW DELHI: On Sunday afternoon, more than 1500 people from all age group participated in Delhi’s version of Chipko movement, to protect the trees, which have been proposed to be cut down to give way to redevelopment of Central government quarters.
The group of citizens took to the streets near Sarojini Nagar metro station, where many of them hugged trees near the flats which are to be razed and formed groups around large trees, holding placards with messages such as ‘Save Trees, Save Delhi’, ‘Don’t cut down life, cut your greed’.
“We would not allow the trees to be felled. Just like the Chipko movement, we would hug the trees if anyone comes to cut them,” said Verhaen Khanna, an environment activist.
Senior advocate Anil Sood who filed the petition before the National Green Tribunal, confirmed that the protesters will continue their campaign till the government revokes it’s decision.
“From Monday, at least 10 volunteers will sit and spend the day at the same place at Sarojini Nagar where Sunday’s campaign was organised. This relay campaign will continue till the government revokes its decision,” he said.
‘Decision made by the State or the Union Government?’
The State environment and forest minister, Imran Hussain along with Aam Adami Party’s spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj joins the campaign and alleged that the decision of felling down these trees were being made by the Union government.
“It is a Union government’s project and it was their decision to cut down the trees. The environment clearance for the project was given by the Union environment and forest ministry in November 2017. The final approval was given by Delhi’s L-G Anil Baijal. Imran Hussain had earlier raised objections as he had asked the forest department to check whether the number of trees to be felled could be reduced and some could be translocated,” Bharadwaj said.
On Saturday, the Union environment and forest minister Harsh Vardhan though said that the allegations made by the AAP were totally false, as he believe that all these jurisdiction comes under the Delhi government.
“For the non-forest areas, whatever local permissions are to be given, are given by the Delhi government. It is directly under the jurisdiction of the Delhi government and not governed by us,” he said.
‘Compensation will be done in ratio 1:10’
While speaking to the media, the Managing Director of NBCC Anup Kumar Mittal, though, claimed that the number of trees slated to be cut is much lesser than what is being reported.
Meanwhile, the Union ministry of urban and housing affairs had stated that compensatory plantation of trees will be done in the ratio of 1:10, thereby resulting in enhanced tree coverage area.