Tile work ‘choking’ trees

Council of Engineers lodges complaint with NGT chief

Tile work ‘choking’ trees

Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 19

The Council of Engineers (CoE) has filed a complaint with the Chairperson of National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Chief Secretary Punjab and the Additional Chief Secretary of Local Government Department against the officials concerned of the Municipal Corporation for their act of gross negligence of covering the area around the trees with concrete and paver blocks which would result in severe damage to the trees and green cover in the near future.

The CoE president Kapil Arora said the MC was continuously covering the areas around trees with cement concrete and fixing the interlocking tiles (paver) over it without consulting the horticulturists and experts about its ill-effects on trees.

“Both sides of roads are being covered with cement concrete and paver blocks and this practice has not only resulted in preventing rainwater from penetrating into earth’s surface but is also acting as slow poison for existing trees and plants. Such act of the MC can be witnessed in front of the Zone-D office at Sarabha Nagar, BRS Nagar, Kitchlu Nagar, Tagore Nagar and other localities in the city. Thus, the MC is not only wasting public money but also creating unhealthy environment for the city residents,” said the complaint.

He pointed out that roots of trees also absorbed water, oxygen and other nutrients, and laying concrete around the trunk of a tree would surely result in its death. It took decades to grow a tree but rather than planting new trees, the MC seemed to be bent upon killing the old ones.

Arora recalled that in 2013, the NGT had directed the Delhi civic bodies to leave at least one metre radius around a tree and upon failure to do so, a fine of Rs 10,000 per tree was imposed of the erring agency. Keeping in view the NGT directions, the CoE had pleaded with the NGT, the Chief Secretary of Punjab and the

Local Government Department, Punjab. to direct the MC authorities to immediately remove the concrete and solid paver blocks fixed on one metre area around the trunks of trees.

It has also been emphasised that to allow seepage of rainwater through earth surface of remaining area on the roadside, the ‘grass pavers/turf pavers (porous pavers) should be allowed to be fixed over sand laid on round-pebbles on both sides of roads instead of solid paver blocks over concrete.

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