In Dwarka, hundreds of trees along the roads have been concretised during repair work on roads. Be it a master plan road, a service lane or a road in any DDA pocket, concretisation of trees can be seen everywhere.
While some happened recently, many have been in this state for a couple of years now. About 50 such trees can be seen in the service lane along Master Plan Road No 201 in front of the Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology.
Such concretisation violate environmental guidelines under the Tree Act. Also, according to a Delhi High Court order, a circumference of 6 ft around the trees should be kept concrete-free to allow breathing space.
Arvind Rudra, an environmentalist and a resident of Harmony Apartments in Sector 4, says, “It’s sad that the authorities, such as the corporation or the DDA, are not serious about the laws that protect trees. If you stifle their roots with concrete, they will become weaker for want of water and air, and they will die. I am shocked to see that many trees in in the service lanes in front of the Sector 4 market have concrete and bitumen in their roots. Despite orders from the administration that the roots should be given space to breathe, civic bodies are not listening up. Inside societies too, either the corporation in DDA pockets or the managements in the CGHS have done this.”
Concretised trees can also be seen in Sector 6 and Sector 10 in front of schools and societies. Shameera Ashroff, a resident of Skylark Apartments in Sector 6, says, “This shows complete negligence by the civic bodies. Mostly during the repair of roads, the roots of the trees are concretised by labourers. The labourers may not be aware of the issue but engineers and contractors are. They need to keep an eye out for such issues.”
Trees with concretised roots in a Sector 3 service lane
The condition of trees in the service lane passing through the Sector 3 police chowki towards Kakrola Mor tells a similar story. More than 50 trees have been concretised during repair work of the service lane by DDA. Residents allege that the lower part of the trees are completely closed by bitumen and stones.
According to environmentalists in the sub-city, concretisation makes the soil compact and inhibits root growth. They advocate strong action against the violators of the rules.
Ramesh Mumukshu, an RTI activist and environmentalist, says, “Delhi High Court has asked all civic agencies for an undertaking in writing to ensure that space around trees is left concrete-free. Earlier, the National Green Tribunal had issued a notice to 14 authorities directing them to remove boards, nails and advertisements from trees and to de-concretise them. The Delhi High Court in 2007 and 2010 had issued similar notices on the need to follow the Urban Greening Guidelines, 2014. According to this, tree roots should be protected during any sort of civic work, and the top soil should be preserved. But violations still happen.”
“The community can play an important role in protecting trees and in spreading awareness of the Tree Act. At least the RWAs and the social workers can intervene when they notice such violations during road repairs,” suggests Vishal Gupta, a resident of Lovely Home Apartments in Sector 5.