No land for planting trees in Delhi: Forest department

New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) With urbanisation and infrastructural development taking place rapidly in the national capital, the forest department has been struggling with land to plant trees, an official said Thursday.

Speaking at a public lecture, ‘Delhi’s Dying Trees’, city’s chief conservator of forest A.K. Shukla said hundreds of trees have been felled in the last one decade to build roads, flyovers, Delhi Metro and other infrastructure in the city.

“Trees are felled to maintain the pace at which Delhi is developing. As per law, 10 trees have to be planted for each tree cut but non-availability of land is affecting it,” Shukla added.

He said about 17 lakh saplings were planted in 2012-13 across Delhi but most of them were seasonal flowering shrubs.

“Delhi’s green cover has doubled in a decade from 151 sq km in 2001 to 296 sq km in 2011 and efforts are on maintaining it,” Shukla said.

Listing out problems faced by the forest department in protecting trees, the official said concretisation of pavements was a major problem as it chokes trees. Besides, most of the Delhi roads have limited surface soil for the trees to grow.

Padmavati Dwivedi, founder, Compassionate Living, who conducted Delhi’s first tree census, said there was a need for people to take initiatives to protect trees.

“Majority of Delhi residents get some area outside their houses concretised for car parking, which is illegal and also kills trees by choking them. We have launched a drive against this and have been calling civic society officials to remove it immediately,” Dwivedi said.

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