Metro says committed to protecting green cover

Stung by criticism over cutting of trees for infrastructure projects, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) today sought to explain that it has turned a green leaf. Taking off from growing 10 samplings for every tree cut at an alternative location, DMRC will now focus on growing as many trees as possible in the same area from where they are uprooted for construction purposes. “To maintain ecological balance we will try to plant at least one sampling in place of a cut tree in any area—under the new ‘one for one’ policy. Also, during construction, the contractor will be asked to maintain the planted trees. We are concerned about ecological balance and the green cover in the city,” said CBK Rao, Director, Project & Planning, DMRC. Besides conserving the Capital’s green cover, DMRC says it’s concerned about the environmental impact of the metro. A Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) study done for DMRC had pointed out that there was increase in noise pollution along metro’s elevated tracks, as reported by Newsline. DMRC has now re-designed its piers, stations and parapets to address the issue. “Instead of elliptical and rectangular designs of piers we used for elevated tracks in Phase I, we will now have pier designs with grooves to absorb vehicular noise in the area. The same will go for parapets as well. The aesthetics of Line 1 will be retained in Phase II,” said Rao. Under the new ‘one for one’ policy, DMRC has already planted 9,882 trees this year, including a thousand at Najafgarh depot and another 500 at Kashmere Gate, Pragati Maidan and Shastri Park station. Additional space is being identified for another 5,000 saplings that will be planted this monsoon. “Survival rate of the saplings is 97-98 % because we are planting saplings as high as 7-9 feet. Earlier, when smaller saplings were used, there were instances of cattle damaging them. Some 2,000 trees will be planted at the Yamuna bank depot, opposite the parking lot at Dwarka sector 9 station and some100 saplings each will be planted at stations along Line 3 (Dwarka-IP Extension). Also as per the new contract which will be given out for planting of trees, we will add a compulsory one year maintenance clause,” said Karan Singh, DMRC’s horticultural expert. DMRC’s greening plans include ‘scientific methods’- like growing shrubs under metro’s elevated tracks that will not spread out on the road and obstruct view. Shady trees like Ashok, Alstonia, Pilkhan and Neem will be grown on road sides and shrubs like Bottlebrush, Champa, Gulmohar, Amaltas on central verges. Rao said though DMRC had permission to cut 15,226 trees for Phase I, they had cut only 9,876 trees, saving 1,900 trees through careful planning. For Phase II, DMRC will be cutting 9,022 trees and transplanting 1,899. Rao said DMRC MD E Sreedharan had issued strict directions to cut trees when absolutely necessary. The MD had several rounds of meeting to save 15 trees in the construction of Race Course station for Phase II’s south Delhi corridor. – Express India