Updated: August 30, 2021 9:08:46 am
After the Delhi government’s tree transplantation policy was notified in December last year, making transplantation mandatory for projects that will replace trees, around 40 such projects have been given approval to transplant trees.
Since January this year, the project that has been approved to transplant the largest number of trees is the National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI) Urban Extension Road-II (UER-II). The project is slated to displace around 6,000 trees, of which nearly 4,000 will be transplanted, according to an official of the Forest Department. The UER-II is a Ring Road that will connect NH-1, NH-2, NH-8, and NH-10, and will pass through Najafgarh, Rohini and Dwarka.
Another project that will transplant trees by the thousands is a housing society project being undertaken by a private company in South Delhi. Around 1,200 trees are likely to be transplanted for its construction, the official said.
The site for transplantation and afforestation is to be provided by the project implementing agency. “In a situation where retaining the trees at their existing locations is unfeasible, priority should be given to transplant the affected trees to other permanent locations within the project site where appropriate, so as to increase the tree’s survival rate after transplanting and minimise the loss of greenery in the local environ,” the tree transplantation policy states.
Much regarding transplantation is still a “work in progress”, the official said. Monitoring of transplanted trees does not fall within the ambit of the Tree Transplantation Cell, constituted earlier this year, he added.
Local committees comprising members of residents’ associations and experts will have to be formed in the areas to which the trees are transplanted to monitor their growth.
The Tree Transplantation Cell of the Forest Department empanelled four agencies in June this year and project implementing agencies can choose from among these to carry out transplantation. The agencies had to fulfill criteria including previous experience in transplantation.
Going by the Tree Transplantation policy, 80% of the trees affected by a project are to be transplanted, barring invasive or exotic species like the vilayati kikar. The policy makes a provision to penalise the agency carrying out the transplantation if it fails to ensure an 80% survival rate of the transplanted trees. The payment that the agency will receive depends on the survival rate of the trees.
The Forest Department ensures that the soil where the trees are transplanted is suitable. Compensatory afforestation is mandatory both for felled trees and transplanted ones.
Since permissions have been given only recently, transplantation is yet to begin in full-swing, the official said. Once transplantation has been carried out on a large scale, a study will be done to determine the survival rate and success of the policy, he said.
The largest transplantation drive that is already underway is for the trees that are making way for the Dwarka Expressway. Till October last year, around 3,800 out of 10,000 trees had been transplanted for the project.