The National Green Tribunal has ordered an interim stay on PWD’s road-widening project along the Andheria Mod-Mahipalpur stretch, where trees were found to be felled illegally. On March 18, a bench headed by NGT Chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar, asked the Delhi government, the Forest Department and PWD to not fell any tree except in cases where permission from the department concerned has been obtained till the next date of hearing.
The bench also asked to produce records if the non-applicants have obtained the necessary clearance or permission from the forest department for removing or felling the trees while making the road. Notices have been issued to all three departments.
In the first phase of the project, being implemented from Andheria Mod to Nelson Mandela crossing, permission to fell about 70 trees was sought from the Forest Department, though the contractor has already cut or damaged 33 trees. Forest Department officials have estimated that around 1,000 trees will need to be cut to execute all three phases of the project.
Since no area for compensatory plantation has been identified, they have not issued any permission. For each tree that will be cut, 10 will have to be planted.