New Delhi [India], July 29 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Friday while setting aside an order of the Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) granted permission to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for the transplantation of over 600 trees for the construction of stormwater drain at Dwarka’s sector-8 to cater to water discharge from the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
DCF had put in abeyance the permission granted earlier.
Justice Najmi Waziri allowed the plea moved by DDA seeking permission for transplantation of 637 trees and felling of 56 others. The High Court asked the DCF to supervise the felling or transplantation of trees by DDA for its project.
DDA had challenged the June 29 letter of DCF whereby the permission for felling/ transplantation of trees had been kept in abeyance. The agency had sought direction to DCF to withdraw the letter or set aside it.
It had sought to direct the DCF to issue formal final permission for the transplantation of 693 trees for the project of Construction of a Storm Water Drain at Sector -8 Dwarka to cater to water discharge from the IGI Airport, within one week, in view of the ongoing monsoons.
Sanding counsel Prabhsahay Kaur for DDA said that it is a public project and it required permission from the Deputy Conservator of Forests (West Forest Division) of the Delhi government.
It was submitted by Standing counsel that earlier the permission was granted but it has now been arbitrarily put in abeyance through a June 29 letter of DCF. It has stalled the progress of the project indefinitely.
As per the correspondence, the permission will only be granted after further orders of the high court in a contempt case in which permission for felling of trees has been restricted on April 28, DDA said. A crucial and significant public project has been arbitrarily stalled.
It was submitted in the petition that an application was made to the DCF on November 2, 2020, seeking permission for the felling of trees/ translocation. The permission was granted on May 17, 2022, for transplanting 637 trees and felling 56 trees. Compensatory plantation of 6,930 trees was ordered to be carried out by DDA.
Petitioner made all arrangements for the transplantation and arranged for 6,930 saplings of the specific varieties of trees and also deposited Rs 3.95 crore, as directed by the DCF, the Petitioner stated.
Justice Waziri On April 28 passed an order saying, “it would be appropriate that the tree officer(s) give due consideration to transplantation of each tree which is sought to be cut, before granting any further permission for cutting of trees. This would entail inspection of the trees which are sought. The reason for grant or denial of permission would have to be spelt out in the order of the tree officer along with photographs of each tree.”
The High Court on May 19 had stayed any further felling of trees in Delhi.
It was argued by DDA that the high court’s April 28 has been misinterpreted by the DCF and the court has not directed a blanket ban on transplantation or felling, particularly not for public projects.
The High Court had made a reference to indiscriminate and arbitrary exercise of power by the respondent in granting permission without inspections or application of mind, the plea said. (ANI)