31 trees between Aurobindo Marg & Andheria Mod stretch to be axed for project.
New Delhi: The Delhi government’s road-widening project on Aurobindo Marg to Andheria Mod in South Delhi has unlikely casualties: 31 trees.
These trees which are “causing traffic congestion” will be cut to widen the road for traffic decongestion of pilot corridors — Aurobindo Marg to Andheria Mod, Mathura Road, Outer Ring Road, Sardar Patel Marg and NH-8.
The government had earlier said that among other measures, removal/ shifting of trees will be undertaken in the project.
In the 8-km stretch of Aurobindo Marg to Andheria Mod, 31 trees have been identified which, the officials said, will either be cut or transplanted to a different location. Two neem trees out of these 31 have already been cut.
The residents said they were “shocked” at the decision and wondered if cutting trees was the only option for better traffic management.
“How can they reduce pollution if they cut so many trees. This is being done to accommodate more polluting cars. Removing trees is no solution for polluted cities,” said Padmavati Dwivedi, a resident of Sarvodaya Enclave.
According to the law, 10 saplings have to be planted for each tree cut. “Even 100 saplings would not be equal to one such tree cut,” she said. Residents and activists also said that no plantation activity has happened till now. “Ideally, they should do the compensatory afforestation first and then cut trees,” said Radhika Bhagat, an environment activist.
While the government had said that the trees which can be shifted will be transplanted at a different location, the two removed trees have been cut to the ground. Ms Bha-gat added that translocation is not an issue if proper technique is applied and utmost care is taken.
“For that, we need to dig carefully at right width and depth and pack roots carefully. The tree should be firmly rooted in the new location and it should be monitored for few months,” she said.
“The government had sought proper permission from the forest department before cutting these trees. Some of the trees are a reason for traffic congestion and we have to seek a balance in these projects and environment. It is only being done in places where there is a lot of congestion,” the official said.
The residents have now tied ribbons around the trees that have been identified by the PWD department to be cut with messages like “Let me live”.