Felling of trees by DMRC, PWD given rise to air pollution: HC

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday noted that the "magnitude" of trees cut by DMRC and PWD for various projects has enabled air pollution to increase in the national capital and sought reports from them and the city government on where replantation was undertaken and how much, since 2010.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday noted that the "magnitude" of trees cut by DMRC and PWD for various projects has enabled air pollution to increase in the national capital and sought reports from them and the city government on where replantation was undertaken and how much, since 2010.

It also observed the notified green cover which as per authorities was supposed to be 30 per cent had fallen to 10.2 per cent in 2009 and may be much lower today and sought an action plan from Delhi and central governments to restore it.

A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva made the observation and issued the direction after perusing the report submitted by amicus curiae Kailash Vasudev who told the court the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and Public Works Department (PWD) have cut over one lakh fully grown trees in the past eight years.

The amicus also told the court that two-wheelers, which account for about two-thirds of total vehicular population in Delhi, were the highest contributors to air pollution and not buses or trucks as they run on two-stroke engines which do not use catalytic convertors.

The court, however, refused to pass any order on this submission saying it "does not want to take any knee jerk action" and wants to study all aspects of the issue.

"We do not want uncoordinated or unplanned steps being taken left right and centre as is happening now," the court said and added that it is calling for the reports of tree replantation from the authorities to see where trees have been cut and where replantation is taking place.

"As there is no point in cutting trees in one area and carrying out replanting elsewhere," it said and listed the matter for further hearing on April 24.

It also noted that "if trees are not planted now, there won't be any trees 30-40 years from now" as most trees, like the peepal, neem and local sheesham, in the national capital take between 25-40 years to be fully grown.