Delhi is likely to lose 2,000 more trees to various road widening and development projects across the city, even as residents protest to save 14,000 full-grown ones in seven south Delhi neighbourhoods.
Central Delhi’s Sundar Nagar, that had a lush canopy of trees that shaded the drive, has already lost a major portion of its green cover.
Officials of Delhi government’s forest department said that permissions were granted for felling 82 trees in Sundar Nagar as part of the redevelopment of Pragati Maidan.
The Rs 777-crore plan by the public works department, which includes cut and covered tunnels, foot over-bridges, loops, ramps and landscaping, will eventually require the felling of nearly 1,500 trees, according to officials.
“This does not include the trees that fall inside the India Trade Promotion Organisation complex,” a official said.
Trees have been chopped along Mathura Road and Purana Quila Road. Some near outside Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s official residence in Mathura Road too have faced the axe. “The trees created a canopy that made the ride along this stretch comfortable. Delhi is already the most polluted city in the world and by cutting the trees here we are preparing a deathbed for our future generations,” said Parminder Sandhu, a commuter along the Sundar Nagar stretch.
Radha Kumari, a domestic help who works in the area, said that earlier she would stand in the shade of the Neem and Peepal trees planted on the footpaths and on the sides of the road to wait for a bus. But with the tree cover gone, she was now forced to brave the heat. “Earlier, I would wait a few metres away from the stand for the bus. Now there is nowhere to take refuge from the blazing sun,” she said.
A similar sight can be seen in Dhaula Kuan where over night over a dozen trees were chopped to make way for the main road to be expanded. Commuters, who earlier would wait for buses and auto rickshaws under the shade of these towering trees, were left standing below the pedestrian bridge for shade.
According to government officials, 20 trees were chopped in that patch of cantonment land for widening one of the city’s most congested corridors — between Indira Gandhi International Airport and Dhaula Kuan. For the project, permissions have been granted for axing 2, 162 trees.
Regular commuters said that commuters who have to catch buses to cities of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh use the footpath in Dhaula Kuan under the shade of the trees to rest between trips.