National Green Tribunal raps authorities for failing to de-concretise trees

The National Green Tribunal on Friday pulled up various authorities for not complying with its earlier directive to de-concretise trees and for not removing all boards, nails and advertisements from trees falling under the authorities’ jurisdiction.

Much to the dismay of the Tribunal, instead of removing signboards and hoardings from trees, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation submitted pictures of electricity and telephone poles from which signboards and nails were removed. No mention was made of removal of concrete. Following a petition filed by Aditya N. Prasad and others, the Tribunal in April had issued notices to 14 authorities, including three Union Ministries. Even though the work was supposed to be completed before Friday, the respondents contended it is still going on.

According to the applicant, the Tribunal has ordered the head of departments to file an affidavit by Tuesday and name three areas under each of their jurisdiction in which the work of de-concretisation will be completed before August 8 (the next date of hearing).

Mr. Prasad had also placed on record the comparative study made from affidavits which the New Delhi Municipal Council had placed before the Delhi High Court and the Tribunal, which showed that 107 roads were de-concretised in 2007.

These were again concretised and then de-concretised in 2010 under the orders of the High Court in the S.C. Jain case. Now, the same roads are being de-concretised again after the orders of Tribunal, he said.

The Tribunal also directed departments that future contracts made for construction of pavements should include a clause which mandates that one square metre area around trees should not be concretised.