404 trees being transplanted for new Parliament

While approving the redevelopment project, the Union Environment Ministry had said only 233 trees would be transplanted

November 24, 2020 01:02 am | Updated 01:02 am IST - New Delhi

New Delhi: 23/11/2020: The tree being taken for replantation from Parliament, in the Capital,  in New Delhi on Monday .Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma / The Hindu

New Delhi: 23/11/2020: The tree being taken for replantation from Parliament, in the Capital, in New Delhi on Monday .Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma / The Hindu

A total of 404 trees are being transplanted for the new Parliament and the Delhi government has given permission for the same, as per official documents. The Union Environment Ministry, while approving the project, had said that only 233 trees would be transplanted.

“Project proponent has also informed the Expert Appraisal Committee that there are 333 trees at Plot No. 118. Out of these, 100 trees to be retained and 233 trees to be transplanted and no trees will be cut. In addition, other vegetation will also require to be cleared to develop the new Parliament building,” the Ministry had said in the environmental clearance for the project on June 17.

Following an inspection, the Delhi government’s Environment Department issued a notification on September 16 giving permission for 404 trees to be transplanted.

Also, as compensatory plantation for the transplanted trees, 4,040 saplings will have to be planted, as per the notification.

“The transplantation has started and the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has to inform the Delhi government after it is completed. As per the government’s transplantation policy, 80% of the transplanted trees have to survive after a year. There will be an inspection to ascertain it,” a Delhi government official told The Hindu .

“The trees are five to over 50 years old and they are of different sizes,” the official added. Uprooted trees from the site are being moved out in trucks for replantation.

Will they survive?

Experts differ in their opinion on the survival of the trees being transplanted during the winter season.

C.R. Babu, professor emeritus at Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems of Delhi University, said: “I am not in favour of transplantation, particularly of old trees. In my experience, transplantation is not successful in India. Transplantation survival rate will be much lesser during winter as root and shoot formation is less and very slow during the cold season.”

Vijay Dhasmana, curator of Aravali Biodiversity Park in Gurugram, however, had a different opinion: “This is not the worst time for transplantation, if you provide soil moisture. But it should be ideally done during January end and March.”

He added that it is easier to transplant young trees, and that very old and big trees “may die”.

Kanchi Kohli, senior researcher at Centre for Policy Research, said that it is not right that the government is transplanting trees as several issues about the project are still pending before the Supreme Court.

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