On Monday, July 11, the Delhi High Court was informed that at least three trees were cut every hour for the past three years in the national capital and that the estimate does not include instances of illegal felling.
Justice Najmi Waziri was hearing a contempt case concerning the preservation of trees in the city. It told that the Forest Department of the Delhi government filed an affidavit; 77420 trees were permitted to be cut down from 2019 to 2021.
The counsel Aditya N Prasad appearing in this matter, said that illegal tree felling, which includes trees cut down for forest clearance, unnoticed felling of trees, and those lost to the storm, etc., are not accounted for in the affidavit. If done so, the figures may be twice or four times the current number of over 77 thousand.
Counsel added 77 trees missing in a particular area of Delhi and that the figure rose to 177 missing upon verification by the authorities, as per a green census. The HC sought the stand of the Forest Department on the petitioner’s computation, saying that the city can’t afford to lose 77,000 trees. It also asked the Forest Department to disclose the data regarding categories that were missing from the earlier affidavit.
While discussing the issue of transplantation of trees in certain areas, the court raised concerns regarding the city’s green cover. Further, July 13 was declared the next date for this matter, and the court stated that it would subsequently pass an order on merit. Delhi police official and certain PWD officials were held guilty of contempt of court for violating judicial orders concerning the preservation and protection of trees on June 3 in a related matter.
The court relied heavily on authorities for civil construction work despite a restraining order passed by the tree officer. It rebuked the police officers as they did not deter the construction workers and allowed the PWD officials to complete a stormwater drain project,