Delhi government permitted axing of trees, can’t stop development: NBCC

Delhi government permitted axing of trees, can’t stop development: NBCC
Click for full image

New Delhi: In the midst of the raging controversy over the proposed felling of over 16,000 trees in Delhi, the NBCC India Ltd — a Navratana enterprise, on Monday said it is the Delhi government that has given permission to axe the trees.

Explaining its plan here, the NBCC said that one cannot push development aside as it is a requirement.

However, it also said that against the proposed felling of trees, of which about 2,500 have already been chopped, the NBCC will plant about two lakh more saplings, thereby increasing the green cover of the area from 14 per cent to 55 per cent. Officials also added that the new colonies will have zero discharge and produce about 5,000 KW of solar energy.

Approximately 13,000 trees will have to be axed in Delhi’s southern region — also one of the greenest areas — in a plan to redevelop three old General Pool Residential Accommodation (GPRA) colonies to construct 25,000 new flats and a parking space for about 70,000 vehicles, NBCC Chief Managing Director (CMD) Anoop Kumar Mittal informed the media here.

The infrastructure is being created for the central government employees. Currently there is a shortage of 20 percent housing space, officials said.

“A total of 13,000 trees will have to be axed … about 3,600 have to be axed right away. We did environment assessment that calls to plant 10 times more trees in the area and thus we will be planting approx 2 lakh trees.

“Different figures of trees appear in news, they all keep varying but I am not saying they are wrong. The permission was sought from the Delhi government, it’s a completely state issue and Central government has nothing to do with it,” Mittal said here, also sharing the copy of the permission to cut trees in three regions.

According to the approval letters, the Delhi government last year approved axing of 1,454 trees in Nauroji Nagar, and this year approved felling of 2,294 trees in Netaji Nagar.

A seperate permission to cut 1,123 trees in Kidwai Nagar has also surfaced, according to the sources.

“So far about 11,00 trees were axed in Nauroji Nagar while 250 saplings planted, very few has been chopped in Netaji Nagar, for Sarojini Nagar we need to axe about 11,000 trees for which permission was sought,” Mittal said.

The NBCC official, without giving the exact figures and location, said “very few trees which were axed were big trees”, adding, “most of the trees that we chopped had a girth of about 20 cm to less than 150 cm”.

In July 2016, the cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved redevelopment of seven GPRA colonies, from the existing 12,970 units to 25,667, at a total cost of Rs 32,835 crore.

The colonies to be redeveloped are in Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Nauroji Nagar through NBCC, while those in Kasturba Nagar, Thyagraj Nagar, Srinivaspuri and Mohammadpur will be through the Central Public Works Department (CPWD).

On being asked if they complied with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order that calls for plantation before construction, the NBCC CMD said: “We had obtained permission from the government not the NGT.”

IANS