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Delhiites launch ‘Chipko Movement’
People hug trees in Sarojini Nagar in New Delhi on Sunday. Tribune Photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

Delhiites launch ‘Chipko Movement’

25 Jun 2018 | 12:05 AM

NEW DELHI: People from Delhi and neighbouring areas have launched a “Chipko movement” here against the Centre’s proposed felling of a whopping over 14,000 trees as a part of its re-development project of seven south Delhi colonies saying the “development policies should be for future and not for now alone”.

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Ananya Panda 

Tribune News Service 

New Delhi, June 24 

People from Delhi and neighbouring areas have launched a “Chipko movement” here against the Centre’s proposed felling of a whopping over 14,000 trees as a part of its re-development project of seven south Delhi colonies saying the “development policies should be for future and not for now alone”. 

They demanded an immediate roll-back of the decision to uproot trees for redeveloping the seven colonies - Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Mohammadpur, Sriniwaspuri, Kasturba Nagar and Thyagaraj Nagar- suggesting the proposed structures may instead be build around the existing buildings. 

Under the citizen's initiative - in line with the historic forest conservation movement in Uttarakhand in the 1970s- around 1,500 like-minded people, including locals, activists and environmentalists, were seen embracing trees on Third Cross Road in Sarojini Nagar area as part of a “relay protest” against the re-development of seven south Delhi colonies.

“For the sake of development you can’t destroy the ecological balance. This is not a smart city plan. They are pretty old trees, some 40-60 years old, with species of neem, banyan trees, among others. How can a sapling compensate for the O2 that a fully grown tree can give?” asked environment enthusiast Chhavi Methi, who had come from Noida to join the protest. 

“Delhi is already choking under pollution and construction of concrete buildings by cutting trees will not provide fresh air to breathe,” said Vikrant Tongad, environment conservationist. 

“Uniting for the cause, volunteers representing various groups and organisations, will continue the “hug the trees” protest daily till the government rolls back the decision and next Sunday will gather at Siri Fort,” said Chhavi. 

Over the last two days as the issue spread by word of mouth and social media, volunteers also took out peaceful protests and candlelight marches against the move. 

Organisations like Green Circle Dwarka, Social Action for Forest and Environment, Delhi Blue Skies have come forward to join the cause.

At the site, where protestors held placards with messages, like “If only buildings of bricks and glass give you O2, you would cut a tree”, “Buildings, buildings and buildings everywhere and no fresh air”, etc, a velfie booth was also set up to create awareness through social media. 

Pointing at the environment impact assessment aspect, activists questioned the permissions for such a large scale uprooting of trees by the agencies and government departments concerned at a time when the issue has triggered a blame-game between the Union Environment Ministry and the Aam Aadmi Party government. 

AAP has too claimed that no environment assessment has been done prior to the nod to the redevelopment project. 

“The Delhi Government has not been consulted as to how the transport, water and sewer requirements will be met under the redevelopment plan,” said AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj. 

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