The Delhi government on Friday constituted a nine-member green cover development committee to enrich and increase Delhi’s green cover and said it will also engage the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun to independently audit the tree transplantation done by all departments to monitor progress on ground.
Departments that fail to submit reports of their tree transplantation work so far will not be granted construction clearances anymore, environment minister Gopal Rai said on Friday.
In response to a Delhi Development Authority (DDA) letter, seeking to revise the tree transplantation policy for compensatory plantation — from 10 saplings for every tree cut to two saplings for each tree felled — citing paucity of land, Rai said the forest department has been directed to seek a detailed report from the DDA on the land available with it
The decisions were taken after a high-level joint review meeting at the Delhi Secretariat on Friday, chaired by Rai, to review the progress on the tree transplantation policy. Delhi government wants to increase the amount of green space in Delhi as much as possible so that the people of Delhi can be free of pollution, the minister said.
“In anticipation of a potential land constraint and to increase green cover in Delhi, the department has formed a nine-member Green Cover Development Committee. This committee will work to increase green spaces based on land availability. This committee will include two representatives from public works department and one each from CPWD, DDA, forest department, civic bodies, School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi Urban Art Commission, and IARI (Pusa),” Rai said.
“Earlier in Delhi, trees were cut for development work, and new plants were planted in their stead. We eventually determined that newly planted saplings took a long time to grow, so the government implemented a tree transplantation policy that required all plants that could be transplanted to be transplanted. It has been determined that different departments and agencies have varying survival rates when it comes to tree transplantation. The average survival rate of trees has been found to be between 50-55%,” Rai said
“In addition, due to the unsatisfactory results of many agencies and departments, the departmental tree transplantation will now be audited by the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun. No files related to any department that does not submit their respective reports to the forest department will be approved for any further construction work,” the minister said.
The government has also decided to blacklist any empaneled agency that do not perform tree transplantation work optimally. The Forest Research Institute Dehradun will also audit the tree transplantation carried out by the departments that have received approval for tree transplantation thus far, Rai further said.