The Delhi High Court on Monday imposed an interim ban on cutting of over 16,000 trees for Centre’s redevelopment project in south Delhi till July 2 when the National Green Tribunal will hear the matter.
“Can Delhi afford cutting of trees for the development of roads and buildings?” the court asked NBCC (India) Limited while hearing a plea filed by KK Mishra.
In a time when the residents of the national capital were facing the hazardous level of pollution, the Central Government’s has planned to cut over 16,000 trees to build government offices, flats and commercial spaces in South Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar, Nauroji Nagar and Netaji Nagar.
"More than 20,000 trees will be cut in main south Delhi area. A CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) report states there is a deficit of 9 lakh trees in Delhi. I hope the court will put a stay on the order," the petitioner said in his plea.
Centre’s move to cut thousands of fully grown trees was criticised by the residents of the national capital and they staged a protest, resembling Rajasthan’s 1730 Chipko movement, on Monday.
Several people in Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar hugged trees, taking inspiration from the Chipko movement in which 363 locals sacrificed their lives in a bid to save their jungles.
People also rubbished Centre’s assurance to plant an equal number of saplings to make up the loss of trees.
“These trees are decades old fully-grown trees that provide shade and curb pollution. A sapling will take years to grow into a tree that big and given climate change, chances of its survival are too low,” said Juhi Saklani, an environmentalist.