Delhi’s own Chipko Movement surges against 16,000 trees to be sacrificed for ‘redevelopment’

New Delhi, June 29, 2018: Not long ago, the national capital was chocking with the dust storm that entered here through Aravali Hills, for we do not have the forest cover to keep the air clean from the pollution and to keep the soil cover intact.

Amidst these alarming situation in Delhi, when environmental heads should be on their toes to make the situation better, the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) proposed the project for the redevelopment of south Delhi colonies for which they’ll have to cut down more than 16,000 trees according to reports published in indiatoday.in

Public protests against tree-cutting
This project has really shaken up the roots of the people so much so that they filed a petition before Delhi High Court, asking them not to cut trees.

This led to Delhi getting its own Chipko Movement against this redevelopmental project.

Dr Kaushal Kant Mishra, a city-based orthopaedic filed a petition and taken time till July 4 to amend his plea and challenge the tree authority’s decision.

The PIL has sought setting aside of the terms of reference (ToR) and environment clearance (EC) granted to the project by the Environment Ministry, saying it would lead to the cutting of over 16,500 trees.

According to the petition, the separate ECs for each area in South Delhi were granted between November last year and June this year.

AREAS COMING UNDER THE BELT OF ENVIRONMENT CLEARANCE:

South Delhi areas were famous for thick forest belts near IIT region and towards the Aravali, but now even the left over green space is under threat.

This list includes six main areas in South Delhi colonies, including:

Sarojini Nagar
Naoroji Nagar
Netaji Nagar
Thyagaraja Nagar
Mohammadpur
Kasturba Nagar
POINT OF ARGUMENT OF PETITION
Of course, nothing can replace a full grown tree.

The petition has claimed that planting of saplings in another location as compensatory afforestation would not reduce the burden which would be put on the environment due to the large-scale felling of trees.

It has claimed that saplings would be a “poor substitute” for the fully grown trees that would be felled for the housing projects.

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COURT’S DECISION
Like the people of Delhi, even the judges were shocked to hear a petition on saving trees according to reports published in  indiatoday.in

The Delhi High Court has passed an order to stop the project until July 4, that means no cutting of trees.

Taking note of the views expressed by the court which appeared inclined to order an interim stay of the tree chopping process, the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), tasked with redeveloping half a dozen south Delhi colonies, agreed not to cut any tree till July 4.

The NBCC made the statement after a vacation bench of Justices Vinod Goel and Rekha Palli asked:

It initially asked NBCC to “stay its hands” till July 2 when a similar issue would be heard by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and asked the petitioner, an orthopaedic surgeon, to approach the tribunal.

Since the court appeared inclined to give an interim order till the next date, NBCC made a statement that no tree will be felled till then.

The court also made the tree authority of Delhi government a party in the matter.

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