The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today directed authorities in Delhi like DDA, MCD and Forest Department to work together and complete by September 19 deconcretisation of trees in the city without damaging them.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also directed the authorities to immediately take remedial measures regarding those trees whose roots were dug up and trunks damaged during removal of the concrete around them by using heavy machinery like JCBs.
"Vice Chairman, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) will call all senior officers of all the municipal corporations of Delhi (MCD), Public Works Department (PWD), Forest Department, New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and they shall then pick six colonies of Delhi wherein deconcretisation of trees will be done before next date of hearing.
"We expect all the authorities to act in cooperation and coordination with each other," the bench said.
The directions came after each civic authority informed the tribunal that it has finished deconcretisation work in those areas of the three colonies, they randomly picked as per the bench's earlier order, where they have jurisdiction.
The tribunal on last date of hearing had directed each of the authorities to undertake deconcretisation of trees in any three colonies, to give the work the highest priority and to file an affidavit informing the bench about the progress.
In its affidavit, DDA said that it has finished work of deconcretisation in the "parks" of R K Puram, Hauz Khas and Ashok Vihar colonies here and said the remaining portions of these areas are managed by other agencies.
Unhappy with the submissions, the bench observed their actions exhibit "non-application of mind and wastage of public money" adding "you are behaving like school children".
"Why can't you sit together," the bench asked.
It also questioned DDA as to "what deconcretisation was done in parks" and remarked "is it not strange your roads are full of potholes, but gardens have concrete. It's amusing."
The tribunal also refused to grant time of eight weeks as sought by the authorities to complete deconcretisation saying "nothing will be done then".
It, meanwhile, directed operators of heavy machinery and the executive engineers supervising the work to ensure trees are not damaged in future and warned that they will be personally liable to pay compensation if any harm is caused.
The direction came after petitioner Aditya Prasad told the bench that wherever work is being done, heavy machines are being used which are damaging tree trunks and uprooting roots and showed photographs and news reports in support.