The Delhi High Court has directed Delhi’s forest department to produce satellite as well as drone pictures of the Central and Southern Ridges to show the growth of afforested areas there in the last two years and to assess the overall growth of the trees.
Justice Najmi Waziri in an order said lakhs of trees having a nursery life of at least three years have been supplied by litigants in various civil and criminal cases on court orders and their cost runs in crores of rupees. However, the court has said, the Forest department, which has to carry out its duty of afforestation of the near-barred forest lands, is not providing “ready assistance” to it “even in this primary duty”.
The single-judge bench said there is a “severe drawback” in the care of trees planted in Insaaf Bagh area of the Central Ridge following court directions. Photographs show that most of the plants have either dried up or have stunted growth “evidently due to lack of watering,” Justice Waziri said while seeking “lateral angle photographs” of the Central Ridge along with time lapse satellite pictures and drone photographs of the area showing the growth in the last two years. The court has also asked for similar photographs of Asola and Maufi Bagh areas of Southern Ridge.
The court’s order has been sent to the chief secretary of the Delhi government to ensure due compliance of the repeated directions issued for the last three years. “It is expected that due compliance shall be done,” Justice Waziri said, listing the case for next hearing on April 27.
At least 21,250 tree saplings in the Central Ridge area and 52,232 in Southern Ridge have been planted in the last three years pursuant to directions of the court. The court has also been monitoring the growth and development of the afforestation.