'If a tree dies, plant another in its place', so said noted botanist Carl Linnaeus.
As trees in Delhi battle for everyday survival amidst unscientific and carelessly undertaken development work, the civic agencies seem to care little about Linnaeus' words and now the Delhi Jal Board has been found guilty of damaging nine trees during laying of a pipeline under Aurobindo Marg in south Delhi almost a year ago.
DJB has now been directed by the forest department to plant 90 trees and provide them necessary protection to ensure their survival.
The contractor firm which had been awarded the work of laying the pipeline will have to cough up Rs 2.7 lakh in fine.
“It is a welcome development. The forest department has been able to take action under the overall supervision of the NGT. This should deter other civic agencies from being careless when it comes to trees and the environment,” commented advocate and environmental activist Aditya N. Prasad who had lodged a complaint about the damage to the trees with the forest department.
It was in March, 2014 that the DJB decided to lay pipeline to improve the service level for water supply in Mehrauli and Vasant Vihar area. The project was awarded to M/s M.V.V. Water Utility Pvt Ltd.
Environment activist Padmavati Dwivedi said she witnessed a JCB digging very close to the trees and roots of many trees were exposed. Thereafter, Mr Prasad lodged a complaint with the forest department on April 25, 2014.
Since prima facie an offence of tree damage under Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994 had occurred, the case was taken cognizance of by the Tree Officer, south forest division, Department of Forest & Wildlife, Delhi government and notices were issued to conduct an enquiry to ascertain the facts.
Meanwhile, Mr Prasad had also filed a petition before the National Green Tribunal and during the hearing DJB refuted the allegations that the damage/ felling of trees had been caused due to excavation work close to the base of the trees during laying of the pipeline.