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Panel red-flag: Delay in tree felling nod impacting Yamuna

Delhi Jal Board (DJB) officials informed the Committee during a meeting on November 4 that application for felling 860 trees to build Rithala STP was made over 11 months ago and has been pending for approval with Environment Minister Gopal Rai’s office since September 17.

Written by Shivam Patel | New Delhi | Updated: November 28, 2020 9:28:11 am
delhi jal board, delay in felling trees, delhi enws, delhi yamuna, Delhi govt, Indian expressA boatman rows across Yamuna River as toxic foam floats on the river's surface at Kalindi Kunj, in New Delhi, Sunday, Nov.1, 2020. The national capital is battling with toxic water after a spike in ammonia content in the Yamuna river and solid waste near its banks. (PTI Photo)

Delay in granting tree felling permission for constructing and upgrading sewage treatment plants (STPs) — to prevent flow of untreated waste into the Yamuna — recently led the Yamuna Monitoring Committee to raise the matter with the Delhi’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF).

In a meeting on November 10, members of the National Green Tribunal-appointed Committee pointed out to PCCF Ishwar Singh that more than 9-10 months had been spent in granting tree felling permissions, some of which were still pending. “The purpose of the review meeting needs to be seen in the context of the larger objective of cleaning River Yamuna, and the fact that administrative delays caused in grant of time bound statutory clearances will impact commissioning of projects having large outlays to the tune of Rs 1,656 crores,” minutes of the meeting said.

Delhi Jal Board (DJB) officials informed the Committee during a meeting on November 4 that application for felling 860 trees to build Rithala STP was made over 11 months ago and has been pending for approval with Environment Minister Gopal Rai’s office since September 17.

Another application was made by the DJB for Phase II work of Kondli STP in February for cutting 1,185 trees, which is also pending approval. “The delay would leave vast quantities of sewage going untreated and resulting in continued pollution of the river,” members of the monitoring committee observed during the November 4 meeting.

The PCCF informed the Committee on November 10 that the proposal for cutting 1,185 trees for Kondli STP had been revised and a new proposal was submitted earlier this month.

“The DJB was not able to identify land for compensatory plantation (for trees cut at Kondli) and hence there was delay,” Singh told the Committee, as per the minutes.

The Indian Express sought a response on the matter from the Minister’s office and a Delhi Government spokesperson but did not receive a reply.

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