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Delhi CM approves removal of trees for Common Central Secretariat building



Delhi CM approves removal of trees for Common Central Secretariat building

Delhi CM approves removal of trees for Common Central Secretariat building

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday approved the transplantation of 107 trees for the construction of the new Common Central Secretariat building, officials aware of the matter said.

In addition, 1,070 saplings will also be planted by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), which is executing the project, as part of compensatory afforestation, they said.

The building, part of the Central Vista project, will come up on Ashoka Road and is envisaged as a state-of-the-art facility for administrative offices of the government.

“… the CM granted his approval for the transplantation of 107 trees on Tuesday. Notably, no trees will be felled at the construction site, and compensatory plantation (CP) will take place to offset the effect of the removal and transplantation of 107 trees from the project site,” said a government official, stating the approval will help CPWD in completing the construction activity on site in a timely manner.

The file will now be sent to lieutenant governor VK Saxena for final clearance.

The Common Central Secretariat will hold contemporary offices, conferencing and archival facilities for all ministries of the central government. Its construction will begin soon after necessary approvals are received, officials said.

After the 107 trees part of the construction are removed, they will be transplanted at NTPC eco-park in Badarpur within four months, officials said.

“CPWD will further submit a report on the same to the tree officer for supervision. The Delhi Government has asked the CPWD to scrupulously abide by the Tree Transplantation Policy, 2020 for the project and submit regular progress reports on the same. They must ensure that for all transplanted trees that do not survive, indigenous tree species with a 15-feet height and are at least 6 inch in diameter, are planted in a 1:5 ratio. If any tree is found to have a nest of birds then it will not be allowed to be felled or transplanted till the birds abandon the tree themselves,” the government said, adding that compensatory afforestation of the 1,070 saplings be carried out too within four months.

The government has also asked CWPD plant saplings of to varied species that suit the soil and climate of Delhi, including neem, amaltas, pipal, pilkhan, gular, bargad, desi kikar and arjun, among others.

Experts and activists, however, warned that the survival rate of trees after transplantation is low. Bhavreen Kandhari, an environmental activist said, “Even if trees were not being felled, transplantation was akin to felling, as the survival rate of such trees is abysmal. The forest department’s own data to the high court shows only 33% of all transplanted trees between 2019 and 2021 survived, a number of which were to the NTPC eco park in Badarpur. What we really need is to design projects in such a manner that trees are retained on-site and become a part of the project proposal and design.” she said.

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