Development v/s Pollution in Delhi
In the name of callous urban planning, the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) is not only redeveloping half a dozen colonies in South Delhi but also cutting down trees despite all the outcries over the hazardous level of air pollution in Delhi.
Recently Delhi High Court has put a hold on a project that requires felling of more than 16,500 trees to make a way for a government officer's housing complex in the city. The two bench judges responded to a petition which raised the environmental threats and concerns on chopping down trees in Delhi empathizing on pollution as well. In its order, HC questioned, “How can the national capital afford the felling of over 16,500 trees for a housing project?".
This brazen act by the NBCC sparked outrage in the residents as well as in the social activists which ended up in a protest in the manner of famous Chipko movement, a forest conservation movement where people embraced the trees to prevent them from being cut in the 1970s.
According to media reports, around 16,500 trees are likely to be axed in areas like Sarojini Nagar, Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Thyagraj Nagar, Mohammadpur and Kasturba Nagar in South Delhi. Of these, 1,500 trees have already been felled up.
As per World Health Organization (WHO), India is home to 13 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world. Throughout the year, Delhi chocked due to the poor air quality and in summer, the extraordinary heat waves leave its people out dry. Apart from that, data shows that half of Delhi’s 4.4 million children have permanent lung damage that they will never fully recover from.
The Aam Aadmi Party-led state government has blamed Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal for giving the approval to cut trees. However, Delhi’s massive tree felling exercise is thus a classic example of unsustainable development, which must be condemned by both the central and state governments for the goodwill of the people. Along with all sort of development, there should be alternative measures to preserve the balance of the ecology in the country.
Having said that ‘plant ten new saplings for every tree cut’ as the compensatory technique to be followed, no one seems to be taking it seriously as the pieces of evidence and reports indicate the opposite in various cities across the country. As a matter of fact, when the trees are sliced down, certainly the living conditions will get worse for civilians.