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New cell by Delhi government to monitor transplantation efforts by development agencies

Manish Sisodia met the Environment and Forest Department officials on Wednesday to discuss plans on transplantation of trees and then passed orders to begin work on setting up a cell for the purpose.

A new Tree Transplatation Policy was approved by Delhi cabinet last year October. (IE Image)

The Delhi government to build the technical knowledge around transplanting trees will soon set up a dedicated unit called the Tree Transplantation cell to help the agencies in successful transferring of the trees to a new habitat under the new Tree Transplantation policy.

Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is also the Environment minister met the Environment and Forest Department officials on Wednesday to discuss plans on transplantation of trees and then passed orders to begin work on setting up a cell for the purpose. He asked the Forest department to start with getting on board agencies who have experience on tree transplantation for the new cell, a government statement said.

Under the new Tree Transplantation policy, that received the cabinet’s nod in October last year, 80 per cent of the trees that were affected by any development project needs to mandatorily transplant. Although it is a welcome step towards forest conservation, the problem lies with the transplantation process as many trees on being relocated to a new habitat do not survive beyond two years or often do not grow enough. The policy also says that as much as 80 per cent of the transplanted trees should survive.

Whichever department wants trees to be transplanted can approach the agencies in the new cell that will be formed and payment will be made only if the agencies can make 80 per cent of the trees to survive after transplantation, the policy said. The Kejriwal led cabinet also said that the cell will comprise of government officials, RWAs and citizens to certify the task was completed with diligence.

The policy faced criticism from environment activists and several other quarters who said transplantation should be a rare exercise and development projects should not affect tree cover, on the contrary, they should be built around trees so that the area is suddenly not deprived of its green cover. The officials, however, assured that development project executing agencies will have to mandatory plant those uprooted trees in the vicinity of the original location, making sure the character of the ecological balance of the area is not affected much.

The Delhi Pollution Control Board is also planning to come up with a separate policy for dust control at these development sites greater than 20,000-metre square.

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