Violation Of NGT Order: Delhi Forest Department Slaps Rs 18.70L Fine On Rajasthan Govt For Concrete Around Trees At Bikaner House

Violation Of NGT Order: Delhi Forest Department Slaps Rs 18.70L Fine On Rajasthan Govt For Concrete Around Trees At Bikaner House

NGT had in 2013 asked all authorities to deconcretise 1m radius around trees.

In A rather first of it's kind, the Delhi Forest department today asked the Rajasthan government to cough up a fine of Rs 18. 70 Lakh for concretising area around as many as 187 trees at the Historical Bikaner House near India Gate after the National Green Tribunal took suo motu cognizance of a complaint it was copied on.

A notice issued under the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act by the Tree officer of South Forest Division asked the Resident Commissioner, Rajasthan government to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 per tree concretised.

The forest department acted after the National Green Tribunal took cognizance of a complaint that was sent by environment activist and advocate Aditya Prasad to Resident Commissioner, Rajasthan and the Delhi Forest Department in November, 2018 highlighting what he saw at his recent visit to the Bikaner House.

A copy of the complaint was marked to the NGT also.

He said in the complaint that hundreds of trees at Bikaner House had concrete surrounding their base even as an order passed by the Tribunal way back in 2013 on his petition had directed all authorities to keep a radius of one meter around the tree free of concrete.

The Tribunal, on May 23, directed the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF), Delhi look into the matter and take appropriate action in accordance with law within one month.

The NGT also reminded all concerned that its order has the force of a court's decree and non-compliance is a punitive offence.

Pursuant to this order, the PCCF along with the Deputy Conservator of Forests, South and the official staff, visited Bikaner House on June 7 and found that 187 trees were either surrounded by concrete or girdled in stone causing damage to the overall health of the trees.

It directed the authorities concerned to deconcretise area around d all trees but the order was not complied with following which the fine was imposed.

It is to be noted that the NGT had way back in April, 2013 directed all authorities concerned to ensure that "All the sign boards, names, advertisements, any kind of boards or signages, electric wires and high tension cables or otherwise are removed from the trees forthwith.

It had also asked all agencies to "ensure that the concrete surrounding the trees within one metre of the trees are removed forthwith and all the trees are looked after well and due precaution is taken in future so that no concrete or construction or repairing work is done at least within one metre radius of the trunk of trees.

Back then also, Prasad had moved the Tribunal ruing how trees in Delhi were becoming weak and falling due to concretization. He had also raised the issue of how during thunderstorm, several trees fell leading to fatalities and how concretization around them was to be blamed.