Environment Ministry does not issue tree cutting permission: Dr Harsh Vardhan

Dr Harshvardhan (Representative Image)

NEW DELHI: Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that the permission to fell trees is not granted by the Union Ministry.

In a statement issued, he said that the Government of NCT of Delhi has neither taken any permission nor does it need to take any such permission from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Dr Harsh Vardhan emphasised that all such tree felling is carried out with the approval of concerned authorities of Delhi Government and permissions have been given as per Delhi Preservation of Tree Act, 1994, which is a State Act.

The Minister pointed out that the Environmental Clearance (EC) conveyed to the NCT of Delhi categorically states that if any tree needs to be cut, 10 trees must be planted against this felling. Normally, the requirement is that against every one tree felled, three trees need to be planted. He also said that the campus in question is perhaps one of the greenest campuses among all such colonies. The Minister further emphasised and said Environmental Clearance is also subject to various statutory approvals of the State Government including the permission under the Delhi Preservation of Tree Act, 1994.

Dr Vardhan also stated that it has been stressed in the environmental clearance process that more than 40 per cent of total area of the project site is to be developed as a green belt. He said that the New Moti Bagh colony in South Delhi is a good example where ample plantations have been made after completion of construction activities.

Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that the Ministry has been taking all mitigative measures to minimise any negative impact on environment and forests.

“We are committed to increasing the green cover. Despite huge developmental work taking place, the green cover has been steadily increasing in Delhi and also in the whole of India”, the Minister said.

“This is evident from the fact that there has been an increase of 7,84,300 ha of green cover in the country in the last two years as per the India State of Forest Report, 2017. During the same period, the green cover of NCT of Delhi has also increased by 563 ha. Now the green cover of Delhi is 20.59 per cent of its total geographical area”, Dr Harsh Vardhan added.

The Union Environment Minister’s statement comes in the wake of recent reports by some people transferring blame to the Ministry for permitting the large-scale tree cutting for the redevelopment of government colonies in Delhi.

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