NGT asks DFO to look into plea seeking removal of Vilayati Kikar in Delhi

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The National Green Tribunal has directed Divisional Forest Officer, South Delhi to look into a plea seeking removal of as many as 30 non-native Vilayti Kikar trees at Vasant Vihar here.

The petitioners, a group of nature enthusiasts, stated that it is well established that Vilayti Kikar (Prosopis Juliflora) is a non-native and invasive species which are known to compete with local or native species and drive them to extinction by adversely affecting the physio-chemical structure of the soil.

Being an invasive tree, it has the superior competitive ability and can displace the native species by influencing their growth and seed germination. It has been also been established by the research studies that Vilayti Kikar has also an adverse impact on the water table as it sucks the water and nutrients from the soil at a much faster rate and thus substantially lowers the water table in the area, the plea said.

The petitioners claimed that they, along with the residents of Vasant Vihar and environmentalists, have taken upon themselves to enrich biodiversity of Delhi-NCR. The applicants have adopted a park of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) located at Munirka Marg, Vasant Vihar, for its holistic development and in pursuance of this objective, they have taken initiative and completed all the civil work required in the park i.e, repairing of walls, cleaning of heaps of garbage, watering the existing plants etc., with the help of the residents of Vasant Vihar and SDMC.

They have also planted various native trees in the park and involved an environmental agency to grow a mini forest inside it and develop the same into a unique education park, first of its kind at all India level.

However, the existence of 30 tress of the Vilayti Kikar in the park is a threat to the native trees planted in the park, the plea said.

It is submitted that applicants have constantly been writing to the authorities concerned for removal of these 30 trees of Vilayti Kikar from the park but none of them have so far replied to the applicants’ letters and nor has any action been taken by them.

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