New Delhi: No trees would be cut in the process of redevelopment of seven colonies in South Delhi, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday, as he also assured that the national capital's green cover would not be “damaged” and steps would be taken to enhance it.
The housing and urban affairs minister said the agencies — the NBCC and the CPWD — entrusted to executing the redevelopment project have been asked to rework and redesign the plans to avoid cutting of trees.
However, some trees may be transplanted at some other location and the NBCC has floated an Expression of Interest for the acquisition of tree re-location/transplantation equipment and for engaging services of trained professional entities in this respect, an official release said.
“I have always maintained that the green cover in Delhi will not be damaged and steps will be taken to enhance it even further. As stated earlier, no trees will henceforth be cut in the process of redevelopment of Delhi colonies,” Puri said in a tweet.
Puri's comment came after he held a meeting on the proposed cutting of trees with Delhi LG Anil Baijal, DDA vice chairman Udai Pratap Singh, NBCC CMD Anoop Kumar Mittal, CPWD DG Abhai Sinha and HUA secretary DS Mishra, among others.
“I chaired a meeting of all stakeholders where NBCC/CPWD have been asked to rework and redesign the plans. We will also go ahead with compensatory plan of planting 1 million trees within the next 3 months. Citizen groups will be invited to suggest locations for transplantation,” he said in another tweet.
Amid a blame game over environment nod for the project, Puri said all the permissions were earlier granted by the Forest Department of the Delhi government on the recommendation of Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain.
NBCC is redeveloping Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Nauroji Nagar, while the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) is managing the rest four colonies in Kasturba Nagar, Thyagraj Nagar, Srinivaspuri and Mohammadpur.
A major protest broke out against the decision to feel the trees, with locals and activists launching their own "Chipko Movement", a forest conservation movement where people embraced trees to prevent them from being cut in Uttarakhand (then Uttar Pradesh) in the 1970s.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi also hit out at the BJP and the AAP over the proposed felling of trees in the national capital for the redevelopment project and called for fighting this “madness”.
The NBCC, on Wednesday said, it it has directed all its contractors not to cut trees in any of its redevelopment projects in South Delhi, in line with the undertaking it has given to the Delhi High Court.