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Monday, July 16, 2018

Vasant Kunj trees: PWD rapped for lying in court

The National Green Tribunal on Friday pulled up a PWD official for lying to the forum.

Written by Kamala Kelkar | New Delhi | Published: May 18, 2013 2:00:45 am

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday pulled up a PWD official for lying to the forum. The official had told the forum that no trees were cut to widen a road in Vasant Kunj,South Delhi.

A PWD representative told Justice Swatanter Kumar that the agency did not fell any tree despite confirmation from the Forest department that at least 48 trees had been removed for the project without permission.

“The Forest department says 48 trees were cut and you say none. How dare you lie before us?” the bench said.

The court pulled up the official for appearing in court without any documents. “He has come for a picnic. You are coming to a court without a piece of paper with you?” the court said.

Justice Kumar ordered that they come prepared on Monday with the proper documents that show the original plans for paving the 3.5-km stretch toward Mahipalpur.

“An executive engineer of PWD Zone 1 says no trees were felled. However,he has brought no records whatsoever to substantiate his claim,” Justice Kumar said. “We express anguish in the manner in which this official has behaved and misled us.”

The complaint was filed before the NGT by Sonya Ghosh,a resident of Vasant Kunj. Ghosh’s lawyer had presented satellite images of the green canopy over the area from November last year and earlier this year to show the changes. She told the court that hundreds of trees had been felled illegally,but the court asked for an exact figure.

After the hearing,the counsel for the chief conservator of forests and wildlife agreed with the judge,saying the PWD illegally cut trees and that the Delhi government would order an inspection to find the official responsible.

Last week,the PWD sought the Forest department’s permission to plant 250 trees in the same neighbourhood,denying that any trees had been illegally felled.

The Forest department will respond to this fresh request within two months. The bench also said its interim stay on construction process shall continue.

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