New Delhi: Anguished over the way in which its order to transplant trees to widen a South Delhi road was being implemented, the National Green Tribunal today held officials of the Public Works Department and other agencies responsible and warned of deducting their salaries.
"Even if a single tree (out of transplanted lot) is sick, you will have it from us. We will deduct salaries from your officers. You people are so unfair to the public, traffic and trees. Why don't you think before you do anything? You deal with public money and waste it," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, told officials of PWD and other concerned agencies.
Castigating them for "not applying their minds" while carrying out their work, the green panel also said that one of its members would personally visit the area to ensure compliance.
The bench, which was perusing photographs of transplanted trees on the south Delhi's Rao Tula Ram Marg, however allowed PWD to remove a tree located in the middle of the road, noting the "looming threat" of road accidents due to it.
The bench, while posting the matter for further hearing on November 30, warned that if the concerned officials are not able to give satisfactory replies, then they could be asked to pay for the transplantation of trees.
Earlier, the NGT had slammed PWD for chopping 40 trees for widening of the road and had summoned its senior officials warning them that they may have to pay for transplantation of the remaining trees.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by one Aditya N Prasad alleging that concretisation of trees in various parts of Delhi was leading to weakening of the roots and eventually their death.
The panel had earlier said that concretisation of the trees was an undue wastage of public money besides leading to environmental hazard.
Asking all public authorities to ensure that public money was not unduly wasted, it had directed them to have provisions in the contracts of roads or beautification to ensure compliance of the NGT directions.