The Delhi forest department is investigating possible damage to trees caused by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), after it fixed QR code tags to around 100 trees in Lodhi Gardens earlier this year.
A notice was issued to the civic body under the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, and an inquiry is underway. If a violation is found, the NDMC would have to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 for causing damage to trees under the Act.
A Delhi forest department official said, “Attaching a chip to a tree in itself is not against the law, but if the tree is damaged in the process, there is an issue.”
Verhaen Khanna, founder of non-profit New Delhi Nature Society, said he complained about the issue to the forest department in January.
He also expressed concern over the municipal body’s plan to further fix QR tags to 4,000 trees in its jurisdiction over the next six months, claiming it is in violation of a National Green Tribunal (NGT) directive.
“NDMC should be penalised for damaging the trees. The process has a lot of issues. The tree can dry up or get infected. If a band is put around the tree, its growth is impacted,” Khanna claimed.
NDMC planned the initiative as an educational exercise to inform people about the age, species, medicinal values and other details of the trees. It also plans to use bands and hooks to fix the QR codes.
S Chellaiah, director of horticulture at NDMC, said, “Our intention is right. Everybody wants us to give information about the trees…”