Making approvals for tree cutting more stringent, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, in his fifth Budget speech, said that for any project, permission to cut trees will be granted only to 20% of the total pool, while the rest will have to be transplanted.
Delhi witnessed massive outrage over a proposal to cut over 14,000 trees for the redevelopment of seven government colonies, after which the Union Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs said they would transplant all trees instead of cutting them.
The Delhi government’s proposal does not preclude the condition that for every tree cut, 10 will have to be planted. This will also apply to trees that have to be transplanted, Sisodia said.
But the proposal is fraught with problems. The process of transplanting trees is complicated and can be conducted only on trees that don’t have deep roots.
Experts said the process requires expertise, time, patience — and luck. The odds of survival are 50%, and trees require 7-10 years to grow a full canopy.
Trees such as Peepal, Ficus, Semal and Sheesham are tolerant to transplantation, while native trees such as Dak, Palash, Arjun, Shahtoot and Jhilmil are not. The root system has to be carefully isolated, the canopy lopped off, and the tree sent to a nursery for acclimatisation and for roots to grow back. Whether agencies have the wherewithal to transplant hundreds of trees is going to be the key question.
The Delhi government also said it will create natural reservoirs, in the form of lakes, in 1,000 acres at North Delhi’s Palla, where the Yamuna enters Delhi. “The fight between Delhi and Haryana is over 150 cusecs per day. During monsoon, Delhi gets 6 lakh cusecs of water via the Yamuna. We will make lakes on floodplains where we can store this water. We can get 246 MGD water through this and Delhi can be self-reliant,” said CM Arvind Kejriwal.