Forest department notice to DDA over tree-felling inside Sanjay Van | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Forest department notice to DDA over tree-felling inside Sanjay Van

Mar 22, 2024 07:38 AM IST

The order directed DDA officials to appear before the deputy conservator of forests (south) and tree officer at their office in south Delhi’s Tughlakabad on April 17

Delhi’s Forest and Wildlife department has issued a notice to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) regarding the illegal felling of trees in Sanjay Van, based on allegations by a group of activists.

The department said though it had given permission to prune trees at Sanjay Van last year, based on the complaint, it was seeking a response from the DDA on the status of pruning and whether any trees were felled in the forest. (HT Archive)
The department said though it had given permission to prune trees at Sanjay Van last year, based on the complaint, it was seeking a response from the DDA on the status of pruning and whether any trees were felled in the forest. (HT Archive)

The department said though it had given permission to prune trees at Sanjay Van last year, based on the complaint, it was seeking a response from the DDA on the status of pruning and whether any trees were felled in the forest.

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“Whereas, it has been alleged that a tree offence has been committed by illegal cutting of trees located at Sanjay Van, Mehrauli, without permission, which is a violation of the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994. The statement or presence of the person (s) addressed in this notice is required to find out the factual position and to determine the extent of the offence according to its merit,” said the order, addressed to the deputy director, horticulture of DDA’s divisions 4 and 6, a copy of which HT has seen.

The order directed DDA officials to appear before the deputy conservator of forests (south) and tree officer at their office in south Delhi’s Tughlakabad on April 17, 2024 at 10:40am, adding failure to appear will result in legal action being initiated against the officials concerned.

A senior forest department official said, based on allegations and submission of photographs showing trees that were possibly head hacked, action has been initiated. “We have sought a response on the same. An officer will present their case before us,” said the official, adding that permission to prune trees was given early last year, but no permission was given to fell trees.

On HT’s visit to Sanjay Van, it found pockets where trees were been pruned, with excessive pruning also observed in some parts. Saplings were seen planted around the trees that were pruned.

A senior DDA official, when contacted, denied that even a single tree was felled in the area. “DDA has taken up eco-restoration of Sanjay Van since last year. Native tree species of the Ridge are being planted and to do that, weeds are being cleared and the invasive vilayati kikar is being pruned, to make openings in the top canopy. Over 20,000 saplings have been planted underneath such trees,” said an official. He added that over 10,000 more native saplings will be planted this monsoon season.

The allegations were made by a volunteer group -- There is No Earth B, which organises regular clean-up drives at Sanjay Van. The group, which has over 1,500 volunteers that take part in drives from time-to-time, said it carried out a thorough investigation at Sanjay Van on March 17, which led to them discovering multiple trees that were felled, it said.

“Such activities pose a severe threat to the ecological balance of Sanjay Van,” said Stuti Chaturvedi, 20, a student of Miranda House and one of the volunteers.

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