A moratorium on felling of trees has been ordered in an eight-kilometre stretch, after two trees were felled to make space for a road widening project in south Delhi. Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain on Tuesday directed the Forest Department to stop any further felling at the site for the time being. The Indian Express had, on Friday, reported that as many as 30 trees will be affected due to a road widening project, aimed at easing traffic congestion between INA and Andheria Mod in Mehrauli.
The decision to stall any further felling came after Hussain met a group of citizens concerned about the trees on the stretch. This past weekend saw tree lovers tying coloured threads and leaving placards on trees in a bid to protect them.
“The minister also told the Chief Conservator of Forests to submit supporting documents: court order, reports on traffic conditions and hazards submitted by traffic police and the L-G’s order,” said a statement from Padmavati Dwivedi, a resident of Sarvodaya Enclave, and part of the delegation that met Hussain.
The approval to widen the road and grant permission to fell trees followed a meeting with the Lieutenant Governor, said a Forest Department official. Permission was granted to fell nine trees within a day or two, yet Hussain instructed a strict moratorium until a meeting is held in this regard. Hussain instructed the Forest Department to convene a meeting with representatives from the Public Works Department, Traffic Police and Transport Department.
The Forest Department granted permission to cut trees on Aurobindo Marg, which is part of four corridors in which plans have been made for traffic decongestion. Special Commis- sioner, (Traffic), Ajay Kashyap, meanwhile, said that the specific corridor was extremely important for smooth traffic flow. “We are not in favour of felling trees, but it is now technically possible to relocate trees entirely,” he told The Indian Express.
“The trees that lie in between the first and second lane along some stretches are a hazard and impede traffic leading to congestion. We are in favour of relocating these trees to allow smooth traffic flow but the expertise to do so will fall under the horticulture and environment departments,” Kashyap said.