The new Integrated Defence Staff Headquarters will come up soon in Delhi Cantt after Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal’s intervention. Through this decision, the CM has paved the way for the construction of the state of the art IDS complex that will house a new officers’ mess, and camp. Notably, the Union Ministry of Defence had sent a proposal to remove and transplant 114 trees to clear its construction site. CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal cleared the path for the project by approving the said proposal in national interest. He has approved the proposal against the condition of the Ministry of Defence taking up the transplantation of 60 existing trees and plantation of 1,140 new saplings as per the plan.

The Ministry of Defence has proposed the construction of the Integrated Defence Staff Headquarters in Mehram Nagar. However, certain patches of trees were obstructing the construction of the site. Thus, the Ministry through its officials, wrote a letter to the Delhi Government seeking approval for removal and transplantation of 114 trees to clear the site. Environment Minister Shri Gopal Rai placed the proposal regarding the same in front of the Chief Minister. Subsequently, the CM granted his approval for the same.

Given the importance of the modern infrastructure for the Indian Army, CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal gave his nod to speed up the work by clearing the patch, in national interest. The approval will help the army in modernising its infrastructure and give them access to better facilities.

Approving the proposal, the CM has noted that it will be placed before the LG to decide whether he would like to invoke a difference of opinion, if any, under the proviso to Article 239 AA(4) of the Constitution of India read with Rule 47A of the Transaction of Business of GNCTD (Amendment) Rules, 2021. It is also mentioned that a time period of seven working days has been prescribed in the amended Rule 47A of the TBR, 2021 for the LG to record his views.

The Delhi Government has further noted that out of the 114 trees, the Ministry will transplant 60 trees, while it will take up felling of only 54 trees. The transplantation will take place within the identified project site. The Delhi Government has further asked the Ministry to not damage a single tree at the site other than those that have been identified and approved by the government. If any tree apart from the approved ones is damaged, it shall constitute an offence under Delhi Preservation of Trees Act 1994.

The Delhi Government has further made it mandatory for the Ministry of Defence to plant ten times the trees, in lieu of the removal and transplantation. Thus, they will now plant 1,140 new tree saplings, besides transplanting 52% of the trees at the site. These trees will be planted upon the identified land parcels within 3 months from the date on which the permission for shifting of the trees will be issued. The MoD will further take the responsibility of maintaining the trees for the next seven years, as per Delhi Government’s guidelines. As per the proposal approved by the Delhi Government, various species of trees that suit the soil and climate of Delhi will be planted in lieu of the removal and transplantation of the trees. These include Neem, Amaltas, Pipal, Pilkhan, Gular, Bargad, Desi Kikar and Arjun among other species. These trees will be planted as saplings of 6-8 feet height on non-forest lands.

As for the trees that have to be transplanted, the Ministry has been asked to start the process immediately after fulfilling requisite conditions, and complete it within 6 months. The MoD will further submit a report on the same to the Tree Officer for supervision. The Delhi Government has asked the Ministry to scrupulously abide by the Delhi Tree Transplantation Policy 2020 for the project and submit regular progress reports on the same. They must ensure that for all transplanted trees that do not survive, indigenous tree species with 15 feet height and at least 6 inch diameter are planted in 1:5 ratio. If any tree is found to have a nest of birds then it will not be allowed to be felled or transplanted till the birds abandon the tree. Further, the lops and tops of the trees shall be sent to the nearest crematorium for free by them within 90 days of its felling.

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