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People just don’t respect rules

Last updated on April 27, 2019

On CV Raman Marg, New Friends Colony, workers have been digging near the main road to install pipes with PWD Permission. The issue here is that they were pulling up the soil very close to the trees. According to an NGT order, digging within 1 metre radius of trees is prohibited.

However, the PWD permission expired on March 31. I saw that the work was going on, so I told them to stop or at least leave the mandated space while digging. They did not listen to me, nor did they give me any contact details.

After I contacted the RWA, I got the number of a DJB official. He said that he will inspect the work and will make sure that they keep the required distance. Later in the evening, I spoke to him and he said that they are going to follow the rules from now. But the next day, I again saw the work was going on like before. Then I called the police, who came and put a stop to their work.

But when the police left, the workers resumed their work. So, I called the police again. I also contacted the Forest Department. The Forest Officer came down and rebuked the workers and said that they should have adhered to the rules. The Forest officer got the work stopped.

Then the labourers started putting the mud back in the pits. Now, the Forest Department will be calling the DJB for hearing in the next couple of days. Due to this work, 17 trees have been damaged.

Then the labourers started putting the mud back in the pits. Now, the Forest Department will be calling the DJB for hearing in the next couple of days. Due to this work, 17 trees have been damaged.

Severing the trunk from the roots, uprooting the tree, bulldozing, cutting, girdling, lopping, pollarding, applying arboricides, burning or damaging a tree in any other manner are all included under the definition of felling of trees so, what they are doing is illegal. And under Section-8 of Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, the Department of Forest and Wildlife is going to take action for the trees that have been damaged. For now, the work has been stopped. We are hoping they don’t continue to damage more trees. Another issue that has vexed me relates to animal rights. I have been visiting Niti Bagh – where there is a park right next to a vet’s clinic. A big signboard is placed near the park’s entrance, which reads that pets are not allowed. This is right opposite the Niti Bagh Club.

A couple of years ago, I had gone for a meeting at the DDA office with other animal lovers.  We spoke to the Vice Chairman, and he passed a rule that all signboards banning pets in parks should be removed. Rather, if required, a time should be allotted for the pets to visit. Yet, we find many such boards in various parks around the capital.

This board was put because of a few people living in the colony – who do not interact with animals and are afraid of them. They are even scared of small puppies because they don’t have any experience of interacting with animals and they expect other people to react the same way. But children are generally friendly with animals.

I contacted the SO there and complained about this board But even now, when I checked, the board was still there at the park.

Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has also issued a notice for allowing pets in parks.  The next step would be to inform the senior officials at SDMC. They need to get these boards removed. A similar incident took place in Panchsheel Park where someone had taken their dog to a park and the residents had objected. They even put a signboard to not allow dogs in the park. After someone from the area contacted Mrs. Maneka Gandhi’s office for help, the illegal boards were quickly removed by the SO.

People contact me through my NGO when they require help to remove these illegal signboards. We guide them on how to take action. But then the MCD does not follow the rules because they just want to make the RWAs happy!

Verhaen Khanna, a commercial pilot by profession, is also an environment activist. He is the founder of the New Delhi Nature Society-

As told to Shruti Das