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Delhi environment minister Imran Hussain writes to L-G Anil Baijal over felling of trees, says NGT guidelines flouted

Delhi's environment minister Imran Hussain has written to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and raised concerns over the felling of trees for the construction of three housing colonies. Hussain has alleged that National Green Tribunal (NGT) guidelines were not followed during the felling of the trees and said that it is a 'serious matter.'

The environment minister pointed to an order of the NGT in the case of Raghunath Jha vs Ministry of Urban Development in which the authority directed that compensatory afforestation should be done "as a condition precedent to the cutting of trees."

Delhi environment minister Imran Hussain holds a meeting on air pollution. Image procured by Pallavi Rebbapragada/Firstpost

Delhi environment minister Imran Hussain holds a meeting on air pollution. Image procured by Pallavi Rebbapragada/Firstpost

According to a release issued by the ministry, the notification allowing cutting of trees in Nauroji Nagar mentioned the NGT order. However, according to it, the notification did not mention the provision about afforestation to be conducted as a precondition to the cutting of trees. Hussain said this "appears to be a serious and grave lapse."

Hussain, in his letter to the L-G, said, "The number of trees proposed to be cut is too large. Project proponent may be requested to submit revised project report with reduced requirement of tree cutting and feasibility of translocating trees that can be saved." He also asked the L-G to consider translocating trees to other parts of Delhi if they cannot be preserved at the site.

In his release to the media, Hussain said, "There appears prima facie a laxity on the part of the department in ensuring compliance of the various conditions/stipulations mentioned in the various notifications. This calls for a thorough inquiry/investigation into the matter."

Locals, activists and environmentalists have been protesting against the government's order to fell over 14,000 trees for the redevelopment of seven south Delhi colonies.

About 1,500 protesters hugged the trees in Sarojini Nagar on Sunday, launching their own "Chipko Movement", a forest conservation drive where people embraced trees to prevent them from being cut in Uttarakhand (then Uttar Pradesh) in the 1970s.

The Delhi High Court on Monday directed construction company NBCC to not cut any more trees till 4 July. NBCC conveyed to the court in writing that the trees won't be cut till 4 July.

With inputs from PTI

 


Updated Date: Jun 25, 2018 21:03 PM

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