The Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi government, PWD, DDA and DMRC to file detailed affidavits on the number of trees cut and number of trees planted in various areas in Delhi within a week. The order came after amicus curiae Kailash Vasdev told the Delhi High Court that over 100,000 trees were cut in the Capital between 2006-10 without any replanting to make up for the loss.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), Public Works Department (PWD), civic agencies and even the Army cut trees for development purposes, he told the court. Besides, the development for Commonwealth Games (CWG) and flyovers was done with scant attention to environmental regulations, the court was told.
Vasdev also told High Court that while the Army demolished the Ridge Hills and forest to develop its cantonment, some IAS officers were allotted land for clubs in the Ridge area as well as Nehru Park and trees were cut for this purpose.
“There were 26 notified forests in the city, but very few are left now. The forest authorities gave permission to cut trees around the Ridge, due to which aquifers and water bodies have gone dry,” the amicus told the court. “Greater Noida is going to be the next victim with Delhi environment destroyed,” he warned. The court was told that short-term measures would not be effective as planning is faulty. “Delhi has only 10.2% forest cover left even though Forests Act says 30% is minimum.”
“All civic agencies, laws contradict each other. No penalties or criminal action being taken under the various provisions. Several acts exist to protect environment but none are implemented,” Vasdev told the court, adding that two-wheelers are the highest polluters and not buses.
An application has also been filed in the Delhi High Court regarding air quality inside high court premises. HC on Wednesday asked the registrar to file a report on air quality and cleanliness of the air-handling units inside court premises.