Environment protection seems more like an empty slogan for the civic authorities responsible for the sprawling Dwarka residential colony that is dotted with trees. Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had planted many trees in the colony as per its plan, but ignored tending to them and looked the other way when different agencies “began killing trees” by chocking them and making it difficult for them to breath.
In the name of beautification, pavements on either sides of the roads are being cemented and studded with tiles. Nothing wrong with beautification, but when it begins to hurt the trees it is a cause for concern.
Environment activists among the resident welfare associations have raised their voice against “killing of trees” but to no avail so far. Few trees have already died and fallen and more face the risk of dying as they cannot breathe at all.
Just look at any tree in the colony. You can see concrete poured around the trees and then cemented leaving them gasping for breath. Most of the well-grown trees in the colony have concrete and bitumen packed all around their roots and the lower part of the trunk. If not rescued, more trees will die, environmental activists fear.
Civic authorities are to blame as they have been turning a deaf ear to complaints, said a concerned resident.
“If you close the roots of the trees with concrete then it would die after sometime because its root would be weaker and it would not get proper water or air. I am shocked to see that trees in front of Sector 4 market in the service lanes are having concrete and bitumen in their roots. The concrete may have been thrown when the road was being repaired,” said Arvind Rudra, a resident of Harmony Apartments in Sector 4. “How the DDA’s own departments - civil and horticulture could not take this into calculation surprises me,” he said.
It is not just the civic authorities that can be blamed. In some instances, even the Resident Welfare Associations are guilty as they want beautification at the cost of environment, felt another resident.
“Ignorance of environmental issues coupled with indifference of many of the residents is also adding to the problem,” said an environment activist who alleged that lack of coordination between different agencies, casual approach of the contractors was also causing the concretisation of trees in Dwarka, just like elsewhere in the city.
SK Singh, a resident of Sector 4, said “some of the trees have been concretised recently during the repairing of the roads and footpaths. Nearly 50 gasping trees can be seen in the service lane along the master plan road number 201 in front of the Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology Campus.”
The Delhi High Court and the National Green Tribunal have directed that six feet area – circumference of the tree must be kept concrete free. But most often, these directives are ignored as there seems to be no one to enforce the court orders.
Sukh Dukh Ke Sathi (SDKS), a non-government organisation of Dwarka has been trying to rescue the trees in Sector 22 and Sector 23, but with little success. SDKS vice president and a member of the management of Sadbhavna Apartments, Sector 22, SS Mann said, “We have approached the DDA for making the roots free from concrete and bricks. So far, we could only get 25 trees, out of the total 70, after a lot of effort for the last two months.”
Ramesh Mumukshu, an RTI and environment activist said, “the civic authorities are not serious about keeping trees free of concrete as per the Delhi High Court order. “