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OVERGROWN TREES NEED PRUNING


Driving just after the rains can be tried in Delhi and more so in Dwarka. As overgrown grasses, shrubs and trees take over the medians and pavements, road signs, lights, and pedestrian and animals crossing dividers are all obscured from view dangerously. Trees all over Dwarka need pruning and trimming. Overgrown branches of trees block streetlights and get tangled in cables or cloud traffic signals. On roads, they are a traffic hazard as their limbs hang too low over pavements and roads. Sometimes, bushy branches cover traffic signals and motorists have to be extra cautious.

Residents are scared to park their cars under them. Near the kerb, branches scratch the sides of vehicles, sometimes scraping the paint. Says Niraj Bhatnagar, “Locating an unfamiliar address by road signs alone becomes impossible as they are blocked by overgrown branches. While the overgrowth is dangerous and annoying, the DDA horticulture department seems unmindful of the problem. DDA’s horticulture department is supposed to check for overgrown plants and trees regularly, but plants and trees along most roads are neglected. Branches covered road signs and traffic lights partially or completely while smaller plants and tree trunks obstructed signs for pedestrian zones, speed limits as well as other warning signage.” At Sector-22 near DGS CGHS, signboard is covered with tree branches. A commuter will be directionless here. Trees are overgrown at Sector-22 market and need pruning here. Trees are overgrown near EPFO CGHS, near NSIT, Sector-13 and at Sector 10 opposite Welcome Hotel. The forest department is getting 50-60 complaints of overgrown trees every day. The reason of overgrown trees is that to prune trees it is mandatory to get permission of tree officers. But forest department has scarcity of these tree officers. There are only 4 tree officers at present. The Delhi High Court has set aside the Delhi Government’s Guidelines permitting regular pruning of branches of trees with girth up to 15.7 cm without pcm without prior permission of the Tree Officer. “In view of the above, no pruning of trees will be permitted in Delhi except in accordance with the DPT Act.” However, the forest department of Delhi is free to draw up fresh guidelines that are in sync with the Act, the court said. "There may be occasions where rare species of trees may be sought to be felled. The more solitary a tree, the greater its significance. Therefore, the responsibility of protecting and nurturing the solitary tree is far greater upon the tree officer and the authorities concerned. A tree is a living being. 

It must be given, at least a "last look" and accorded a final inspection before a decision is taken to permit its felling or sanctioning extensive amputation of its live branches," Justice Najmi Waziri observed in an order, which was passed in May. Meanwhile complaints are pouring in from not only Dwarka area but from all over Delhi. The Forest Department said that they are catering to all complaints and will try to resolve all complaints in a fortnight.


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