In the last two years Delhi has lost between 30,000 and 40,000 trees in the name of development. The major offenders seem to be the Metro and National Highway Projects, High Capacity Bus Service (HCBS), flyovers, underpasses, subways, and general road widening.

As a result some concerned NGO’s, including the World Wide Fund - India, Kalpavriksha, Toxics Link and Youth-reach have started an online petition,, to be submitted to CM Sheila Dikshit.

Approximately one thousand people from all walks of life have signed the petition including prominent personalities like VP Singh, Khushwant Singh and Prannoy Roy.

The organizations have several questions they want answered, as do the masses in the Capital. “When the Metro was started there was talk about replanting trees and compensatory planting. Where were the trees replanted and how much of compensatory planting was actually done and in which areas?” asks Ravi Singh, CEO WWF - India. He adds that only 1 per cent of replanted trees survive.

Even whilst most planners agree that the Metro was sensible about uprooting trees, they seem upset with the HCBS. For the service, some 2500 trees will be removed in Phase-I alone.

“We know that transport is very important, we also realize that HCBS will help thousands of commuters travel easy, but the problem is that nobody is looking at maintaining the green cover whilst planning. The capital has a well developed existing tree line, which makes it simpler for planners, but they don’t seem to be bothered about it” said Ravi Aggarwal from Toxic Links.

Ginnie Mahajan
Monday, March 26, 2007  22:42 IST