Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has approved a proposal for the transplantation and felling of trees to clear land for the construction of Thal Sena Bhavan at Delhi Cantonment, which will house the Indian Army’s new headquarters.
Around 500 trees will be transplanted, while 5790 new saplings will be planted in lieu of exercise.
The Defence Ministry had sent a proposal to remove and transplant 579 trees to clear the construction site. The government has mandated compensatory plantation of 10 times the number of trees that would be removed from the site of the building and its premises.
Approving the proposal, the Delhi Government has noted that out of the 579 trees, the Ministry will transplant 476 trees, while it will take up felling of 103 trees only. The transplantation will take place within the identified project site.
The Delhi Government has further asked the Ministry not to damage a single tree at the site other than those that have been identified and approved by the government. If any tree apart from the approved ones is damaged, it shall constitute an offence under the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act 1994.
CM APPROVES PROPOSAL
“Environment Minister Gopal Rai placed the proposal regarding the same in front of the Chief Minister. Subsequently, the CM granted his approval for the same. Given the importance of the modern infrastructure for the Indian Army, CM Arvind Kejriwal gave his nod to speed up the work by clearing the patch, in national interest. The approval will help the army in their modernising day to day activities, and give them access to better facilities,” an official statement read.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had laid the foundation stone for the Thal Sena Bhavan in February 2020. The seven-storey complex designed “like a rising sun” will be spread over nearly 39 acres.
The MoD will be planting new 5,790 trees around the site to maintain an ecological balance. Thus, they will now plant 5,790 new tree saplings, besides transplanting 82 per cent of the trees at the site. These trees will be planted upon the identified land parcels within three months from the date on which the permission for shifting of the trees will be issued.
MINISTRY TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
The MoD will further take the responsibility of maintaining the trees for the next seven years, as per Delhi Government’s guidelines. As per the proposal approved by the Delhi Government, various species of trees that suit the soil and climate of Delhi will be planted in lieu of the removal and transplantation of the trees. These include Neem, Amaltas, Pipal, Pilkhan, Gular, Bargad, Desi Kikar and Arjun, among other species. These trees will be planted as saplings of 6-8 feet height on non-forest lands.
As for the trees that have to be transplanted, the Ministry has been asked to start the process immediately after fulfilling the requisite conditions, and complete it within 6 months. The MoD will further submit a report on the same to the Tree Officer for supervision. The Delhi Government has asked the Ministry to scrupulously abide by the Tree Transplantation Policy 2020 for the project and submit regular progress reports on the same. They must ensure that for all transplanted trees that do not survive, indigenous tree species with 15 feet in height and at least 6 inches diameter are planted in a 1:5 ratio.
If any tree is found to have a nest of birds, then it will not be allowed to be felled or transplanted till the birds abandon the tree. Further, the lops and tops of the trees should be sent to the nearest crematorium for free by them within 90 days of its felling.