New Delhi: Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said that Delhi government has granted permission for transplanting and cutting trees for construction of Dwarka Expressway.
“We will soon start construction of this crucial road connecting Delhi with Gurugram. I received information from Delhi government that they have approved the proposal,” Gadkari said at a public meeting after laying the foundation stone for 6-lane expressway project connecting DND-Ring Road in Delhi with Western Peripheral Expressway near Sohna.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had been pursuing the tree cutting permission from Delhi government for about a year so that the much delayed project can start. NHAI officials said they have sought permission for transplantation and felling of about 13,000 trees for carrying out construction on two stretches of the expressway in Delhi.
A senior Delhi government official said they have approved the proposal for felling 2,675 trees, but with with a rider. The NHAI will have to transplant 80% of the total identified trees. Moreover, it would have to plant 26,750 new saplings under the compulsory afforestation guidelines. The city government recently introduced the policy of mandatory transplantation of 80% of the total number of trees cut for an infrastructure project.
Moreover, the agency concerned will have to look for a suitable piece of land with the help of land-owning agencies where these fully grown trees will have to be carefully moved along with their roots and soil. Moreover, it will also have to ensure the after care for their survival and growth. The government announced the new policy recently while tabling the budget for 2019-2020.
“In case of any violation of the rules, the permission to cut trees will be revoked,” a senior Delhi government officer said.
Meanwhile, NHAI officials said they have sought permission for 13,000 trees so that work on the two stretches falling in Delhi can be taken up. However, sources said with the fresh permission they could start construction work.
The work of this 29-km project has been divided into four packages – two in Delhi (11 km) and the other two in Gurugram (18 km). The works for the two stretches have awarded to a major infrastructure company and shifting of utilities has started.
The tendering process of the two stretches in Delhi are underway and would be awarded soon. Thousands of home buyers who have been impacted due to the inordinate delay in completion of the expressway are keeping their fingers crossed whether the city government grants permission for the remaining trees quickly so that construction work does not get held up midway. The expressway is seen as the the lifeline for over 30 residential sectors located along it and there are over 175 residential group housing societies and more than 50 commercial projects.