Taking the cue and inspiration from the internationally famed CHIPKO MOVEMENT of 1974 that started against the arbitrary mass felling of trees by veteran illeterate environmentalist GAURA DEVI and her several volunteers, all women, hailing from a distant RAINY village in Chamoli Garhwal in Uttarakhand Himalaya’s, hundreds of environmentally friendly volunteers in South Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar, Nauroji Nagar, Kasturba Nagar and Netaji Nagar have gathered together to hug the trees likely to be felled by the authorities concerned in order to put an end to the arbitary felling of about 16500 trees on acount of the redevelopment of the aforesaid government colonies where multi storeyed flats are coming up but at the expense of these vast number of green trees existing in these vicinities for the last several decades, some even since the British era.
There were government colonies in all these four areas viz. Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Kasturba Nagar and Nauroji Nagar having double stories with one, two, three and four type accomodations.
In view of the shortage of accomodation for the government servants having a long que for allotments, the previous UPA government under the then union Urban Development minister Jaipal Reddy and state minister Ajay Maken had mooted a plan to redevelop and modernised these old government colonies through the PPP model and construct multi storey buildings, hi tech bazaars, market complex, swimming pools and other kinds of recreational facilities including marriage halls and health centres etc.
The basic object of this infrastructural redevelopment was to accomodate more and more people of all grades in a limited area which can’t be extended any further in view of space contraints.
The colonies of Nauroji Nagar and Kidwai Nagar have already been demolished about three years ago and the multistory structures had already come up in these vicinities. However, the work of redevelopment is on full swing in Nauroji Nagar to be followed in Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar and Kasturba Nagar.
All these colonies fall in the NDMC area under the jurisdiction of the union government and the project is being handled by the NATIONAL BUILDING CONTRUCTION COMPANY ( NBCC) the autonomous government body.
About 16500 trees are to be cut/ felled during these contruction activities. However, lakhs of trees had already been allegedly felled with the due permission of the environment ministry during the construction of the various metro rail projects.
After news of the tree felling reached the ear and eye of the Delhi government led by AAP there had been objections against these arbitrary tree fellings and number of environmental friendly organisations thereafter came into the picture. The message spread like a wild fire.
One Mr Khanna an advocate had urgently filed a writ petition in the court of law to turn down the decision. On 24th and 25th June about fifteen hundred enlightened residents of the nearby areas collected at Sarojini Nagar and furiously objected to the illegal felling of these trees threatening the authorities to first axe them, then the trees.
It’s a repetition of late Gaura Devi’s Chipko movement of the seventies when several women volunteers of RAINY GAON in CHAMOLI GARHWAL clung to the heavy trunks of the trees likely to be cut by the then timber mafia finally compelling the then government of UTTAR PRADESH and the centre to acede to their request and officialy ban cutting of trees in UTTARAKHAND HIMALAYAS.
The protesting volunteers holding Play Cards displaying ,”trees are our lungs, don’t axe them,” and shouting slogans most annoyingly, these furious women volunteers have challenged the authorities to come forward and axe them first before citting these old green trees.
Today, about two dozen volunteers, majority of them being women are stationed in Sarojini Nagar to ensure that not a single tree is cut by the authorities concerned.
They are ready to go behind bars and sacrifice themselves but woud not allow the killings of the trees, our lungs for survival say these activists.
It may be recalled that Delhi and the NCR have become the concretes of cemented infrastructural development where trees have been cut on rampant scale.
The suspended particulate matter level has also enhanced to over 500 percent resulting in excessive pollution and green house gases emissions resulting in the badly deteriotating health condition of the DELHITES.
The power demand in the capital has increased manifold and the consumption pattern has increased to more than two hundred percent with the Delhi power demand reaching at 7000 megawats which was merely 2800 megawats in 2005.
It may be recalled that ecological imbalance and increasing pollution is no more confined to and city, town or metropolises but the rural areas and forest dominated states too are now inflicted with this menace. The problem has now assumed global significance with all the countries of the world deliberating on reducing green house emissions and making the world free of ecological catastrophes in the offing due to the increasing global warming.
The capital of India, Delhi and its surroundings are rapidly converting themselves into cities of concrete with lessening trees and increasing number of skyscrapers. Except the Delhi’s Lutyen Zone and the forests of the Aravalies’ there had been incessant felling of trees under guise of infrastructural development thus resulting in excessive pollution of dust, emission of CO2 and other form of poisionous gases emnating from millions of Air conditioners and vehicles which are around 80 lakhs in numbers.
If you happen to go in the NCR in Gurgaon or Noida or Ghaziabad extentions, you’ll find lakhs of upcoming builder flats with literally no green trees but hundred of thousands of airconditioners spreading CO2 in the atmosphere including hot emissions vitiating the entire environment.
Had there been a special impetus by the environment ministries of the centre and state to plant more and more trees and to maintain them respectively, the environment of Delhi would have been full of fresh oxygen and fresh air.
But today what we experience is 40 to 47 degree celcius temperatures and dearth of drinking water compelling Delhites to lead a hell of the life in the capital. Even the Ganga and Yamuna are badly polluted giving toxic water posing a grave challenge to peoples’ lives.
The Himalayan glaciers are expeditiously melting and the hisorical river like Ganga, Yamuna and its tributaries turning into huge drains of heavily polluted contents of factories, tanneries, plastics, rubbish and toxic chemical wastes.
In such a critical situation planting excessive trees and safeguarding the present trees including conserving rain water on massive scale is the only solution to this impending menace. What’s your take friends? Meanwhile, there is a good news that the Delhi high court has issued directives to the union government to stop the arbitrary felling of about 16500 trees in South Delhi.
In a press release issue by the Delhi Citizen lnitiative to SaveTrees the organisation welcomed the decision of Hon’ble HC to stay any further felling of trees in Central Govt’s VIP housing project at Delhi. It was a day light mass murder to fell 16500 trees.
The media cordinator Chavi Mehta thanked the citizens of Delhi for standing up along with them and turning out in large numbers to save the trees.
While welcoming the decision the organisation appealed to the government to roll back this decision to cut 16500 trees.