National Green Tribunal today rapped the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) for felling trees while constructing storm water drains and directed the Forest Department of Delhi Government to probe the issue within a week.
A bench headed by Justice S P Wangdi did not stay the construction work of storm water drains as sought by the petitioner, but criticised the SDMC for violating its April 2013 orders to public authorities not to carry out construction and repair within one metre radius of trees.
NGT passed the order on the plea of green enthusiast and lawyer Aditya Prasad who had said that SDMC was digging trenches for construction of the drains in New Friends Colony without any consideration for the trees on the roadside.
“We direct the Forest Department of the Delhi Government through its concerned officer to investigate the matter and probe whether damage has been done and if so to what extent,” the bench said, asking it to submit the report within a week.
The matter is now posted for next hearing on July 4.
The tribunal had earlier issued notice to SDMC Commissioner Puneet Kumar Goel citing violation of its April 2013 orders.
“A complaint regarding the aforesaid damage was recorded by a local resident at the police station New Friends Colony on May 31. However no action was taken by the police to stop the violation of the directions of this tribunal and the work has continued unabated.
“Stay the works being undertaken by SDMC and direct it to examine the lay outs of the drains so that adequate space is left around the trees and direct the contemnor to cover the exposed roots with soil and further more fill soil/humus wherever it has been removed,” the plea had said.
In April 2013, NGT had prohibited excavation work within one metre radius of trees and directed the removal of concrete structures surrounding the plantations within a metre.
It had directed public authorities like Municipal Corporations of Delhi, Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Transport Corporation, National Highways Authority of India that signboards, advertisements, boards and nails be removed from trees.
In July 2013, the green panel had directed that provisions ensuring compliance of these directions be included in contracts of roads and pavements.
( Source – PTI )