NGT raps civic agencies for choking trees with concrete

by chitrkunwar

GURGAON: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday pulled up various state government agencies, including MCG, HUDA and the forest department, for concretizing open ground around trees in Gurgaon, an unscientific act that significantly cuts short a tree’s life, and is againstministry of urban development (MoUD) guidelines.

In its order, a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, directed agencies to remove the concrete around the bases of trees up to a 1.25 metre radius, and submit an action taken report on it by July 7.

The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by city-based NGO Haryali Welfare Society against concretisation of trees that leave them with no breathing space.

In its previous order on February 25, NGT had asked MCG and HUDA to remove concrete and tiles around trees without using machines, and to ensure that trees are not used as anchors for tying power cables. It also directed the agencies to submit a compliance report at Wednesday’s scheduled hearing. Haryali Welfare Society founder Vivek Kamboj told TOI that government agencies had then agreed to the order and pleaded for the petition to be disposed off. But subsequently, the agencies took up the task at a snail’s pace, and so far have only begun work near those trees whose pictures they have submitted.

There are over 15,000 trees that need immediate de-concretisation, apart from thousands of trees in private colonies that require similar rescuing. With the tribunal’s three-month deadline, agencies now need to speed up work and submit the report on action taken for de-concretization by July 7.

The tribunal had earlier stated, “We’re satisfied with reasons assigned and photographs filed, which clearly show that concretisation has been done in the most unscientific manner, without following stipulations in the MoUD guidelines. There shall be an interim direction against respondents not to concretise around trees any further.”

Rao Jaswant Singh,TNN | Apr 16, 2015, 01.57 AM IST

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