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HomedelhiDelhi HC asks MCD, tree officer to preserve century-old banyan tree

Delhi HC asks MCD, tree officer to preserve century-old banyan tree

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has asked the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the tree officer concerned to carry out an inspection and take steps to ensure the preservation of an over-a-century old banyan tree in the capital’s Nai Sarak area.

Justice Prateek Jalan, while dealing with a petition against an unauthorised construction which damaged the tree, noted that although the sanction plan in respect of the offending property was revoked, the issue of preservation of the tree remained.

“The Tree Officer and MCD are directed to carry out a joint inspection at the site within a period of one week from today, and to take such further action as required to ensure the preservation of the tree which is stated to be approximately 140-160 years old,” the court said in a recent order.

“The Tree Officer and the concerned officer of MCD will thereafter conduct an inspection at least once in four weeks to ensure that the site is being maintained in the manner conducive to the preservation of the tree,” it added.

In an earlier order, the court had noted that the tree had been “choked by concrete” and suffered “extensive cutting of its branches, prop-roots and subterranean roots” on account of the construction work.

“Photographs filed by the intervenor show horrific and merciless mutilation and cutting of the majestic grand old tree, the living entity which has been a mute and patient spectator to the unfolding of history in the city of Delhi for the past three centuries. Apparently, the builder, failed to appreciate this invaluable heritage in its courtyard,” it had lamented.

In the order passed earlier this month, Justice Jalan stated that as per a report filed by the tree officer, the inspection of the banyan tree revealed digging of approximately five to six feet from the ground level which would damage the root system of the tree. It was also noted that there was construction of a wall which might destabilise the root zone of the tree and large quantities of iron guarders/rods were found unattended at the location.

The court added that while remedial measures were undertaken by the authorities, the platform around the tree had not been removed keeping in view the requirements of support to the tree.

(Published 29 October 2023, 14:51 IST)

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