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The Dwarka Expressway project which will connect Mahipalpur in Delhi to Kherki Daula toll plaza in Gurgaon has been delayed since long. The expressway which will eventually ease the pressure on the Gurgaon expressway will observe over 10,000 trees being transplanted.
The first 3,800 trees have already been transplanted in the first phase in different areas in Dwarka. Previously, various government departments have tried to transplant trees instead of cutting them. However, the Dwarka Expressway is the first one where the plantation exercise has been undertaken at this scale.
With the Delhi government passing the Tree Transplantation policy earlier this month, it might not be the last one where transplantation would be followed. As per the policy, building agencies must transplant 80 per cent of the trees they remove.
One major concern raised by the environmentalist regarding the new policy is the survival rate and health of transplanted trees. But the Delhi government maintains transplantation will be considered only after exploring the possibility to keep the tree where it is.
The tract of land in Dwarka explains how difficult the process of transplantation is. While the younger plants have somehow managed to hold on, most of the older trees are dry and dead.
For maintaining a record, each transplanted tree has a number assigned to it and is painted to keep track of it. The dry trees hold a serial number.
The transplanted trees include silver oaks, Sheesham, neem, ficus and Alstonia. The deputy project manager, National Highways Authority of India, Omender Singh Sirohi said 4,425 out of 9,135 trees have to be transplanted under package 1.
Under package 2, this number is 5,717 out of 9,417 trees. Out of these, a large number of trees were planted at Sector 24.
Although the site belongs to DDA, for the first three months, an agency was hired to transplant the trees and is responsible for its upkeep. Now, the agency responsible for taking care of the trees is NHAI.
The total number of trees transplanted is 3,800 trees have been transplanted, and many of them have not survived. One of the most important aspects of transplantation is the timing.
The monsoon and the post-monsoon seasons, before it gets too cold or too hot, are considered ideal for it. "
"Many trees could not be watered for several months because of Covid-19 as we did not get permission to send tankers to the area. That was a setback," said Sirohi as reported by The Indian Express
Outside the plantation area, the guard said that several people had started to steal dead trees for firewood.
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